SHOPPERS in York will need to change their behaviour very quickly next week if they want to avoid risking a £100 fine for failing to cover their faces, a Press survey has indicated.

The Government announced yesterday that wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from July 24, with a fine of up to £100 for those who flout the rule.

The move brings England into line with other major European nations such as Germany, Spain and Italy, and also with Scotland.

Members of the public have been advised since mid-May to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet, but that seems to have had little impact on shoppers coming out of the Tesco Express store in Piccadilly this afternoon.

Out of 50 shoppers emerging between 2.45pm and 3.10pm, only eight of them were wearing masks or any other kind of facial covering.

However, there was general support for the new rule, even amongst those without any covering.

Jennifer Smith, from Badger Hill, who wasn't wearing one, said she normally did cover her face when going in shops and she backed the new law.

She said she thought people would feel happier wearing a covering if everyone else was doing so, and she also believed it could make customers feel more confident about going out shopping and boost trade.

Her comments echoed those of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who said today that there was evidence that face coverings increased confidence in people to shop.

Another Tesco shopper, Anna Whaley, also supported the move, saying: "It won't harm anyone."

She wasn't wearing a mask but said she had just bought one for £7 and would be wearing it in future.

One of the few Tesco customers who was wearing a mask today was Ratu Sumampow, a 19-year-old University of York student, who is from Indonesia.

"I have been wearing it for a very long time, since the start of the lockdown," she said.

"I feel comfortable wearing it and it's better wearing one here than at home, where it's very polluted and humid."