SHOP owners in Leominster have had their say over whether they will continue enforcing face masks in their shops, or whether they will leave it to their customers’ personal choice.

The government said that from July 19, wearing face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement in shops, public transport or enclosed public spaces in England.

But official advice said face masks should still be worn, as a voluntary measure.

The upcoming changes received a mixed response, with shop workers’ union Usdaw saying face masks should be mandatory for shoppers to protect staff, while Sainsbury's said they will support the “individual choices” of customers and staff.

Retailers in Leominster also had a mixed response to the upcoming law changes.

Carl Rowley, of Step in Time on Corn Street, said: “I’m happy for people to do what they feel comfortable with. Equally from a staff point of view that’s also down to them.

"People are by and large able to quantify the risk and to act accordingly. Over the pandemic, people have been very understanding. It’s very much down to personal choice now.”

Annie MacDougall, of No 14. Antiques on Broad Street, said she would suggest customers wear a mask, but would not be enforcing it. She also said they would continue with hand sanitiser in the shop.

She said: “I feel a bit let down by it (the change to the law). It’s not taking into account how people feel. A lot still feel vulnerable."

Steve Vaughan, of Biobab in the Buttercross Arcade, said he wouldn’t be continuing the face coverings rule, but would prefer if people wore one.

“I’m not going to enforce it. I will be asking people to sanitize, and I’ll continue to keep it to two people in the shop at one time for my own safety," he said.

“I’d request people to wear masks, but not enforce it. I have got my business to think about.”

Caroline Fletcher, of M.E. Fletcher Newsagents on Broad Street, said she couldn't enforce it, and staff would be left to decide if they wanted to wear one. It would be courteous for customers to do the same, she added.