‘We can’t force them’ - Will customers be turned away without a face mask in Thetford?

General manager Julian Chittock, wears a face mask at the Thetford Garden Centre now they are open t

General manager Julian Chittock, wears a face mask at the Thetford Garden Centre now they are open to the public during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

As face masks are being enforced in shops across Norfolk this week, it is up to businesses to make sure everyone is sticking to the rules. EDP reporter EMILY THOMSON spoke with three Thetford shops about how they will enforce it.

Thetford Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thetford Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

From Friday, shoppers who are not wearing a mask are at risk of being turned away or even handed a fine.

But as we all get used to the new rules, how lenient will businesses be?

Thetford Garden Centre said they will work with customers to ensure everyone is wearing a mask when they enter the store.

General manager, Julian Chittock, said: “We aren’t looking to turn customers.

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson

The Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Thetford. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant


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“Our aim is to enable everyone to come into the centre with a face mask on.

“We will initially provide masks for the first day or two for people who have forgotten and we have masks for sale.

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“But generally, our customers are really good and supportive of what we are doing and since Boris’s announcement there has been a notable increase in people wearing face coverings already.

“Since being able to open, we have taken the safety of our staff and customers very seriously and we have followed all of the guidelines.”

Nick Day is supervisor at Time2Vape in Thetford Town Centre. Photo: Emily Thomson

Nick Day is supervisor at Time2Vape in Thetford Town Centre. Photo: Emily Thomson - Credit: Archant

Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Thetford’s town centre has said it hopes customers will follow the new rules but they can’t force them.

Thetford supervisor, Joanna Alves, said: “The information we have got from head office is that we cannot force any customer to wear a mask.

“We are lucky with our customers because they don’t mind using sanitiser and a lot of them already come with a mask on so, I think we will be okay.

“Every store is exactly the same. But we definitely won’t be sending anyone away.”

And Nick Day, supervisor at Time2Vape, also in Thetford Town Centre, said they will be providing masks for anyone who doesn’t have one.

Mr Day said: “We will be offering free masks for anyone who wishes to shop.

“We have an abundance of them and if any customers comes in the shop without one, we will just politely ask them to take a mask out of the pack.”

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