TODAY we asked business in Newton Aycliffe and Northallerton how they felt about the new rules that people must now wear face coverings or masks in shops.

As of today, people must now wear face coverings in shops, including banks, post offices, and hairdressers unless you are exempt.

Face coverings on public transport are also required, including buses, trains, planes and Taxis, but what do the people of Aycliffe think about this?

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Anthony Chapman, volunteer staff member at Salvation Army in Aycliffe felt that it was a good thing re-introducing masks and people now feel “more comfortable.”

The Northern Echo:

He said: “I think it’s making people feel a bit more comfortable.

“I think we were getting to a point were people not wearing masks were making people feel slightly uncomfortable.

“It is helping yeah, if we get back to wearing masks again, hopefully the infection rates will drop.

“I think at the moment it’s just a case of people have gotten used to not wearing masks again because so many had stopped.

“I’m not really worried about the new variant, I think that with being double jabbed and getting boosted I think that will help.

He added that he wouldn’t be surprised if the UK was plunged into a further lockdown over Christmas but felt that it was necessary.

He said: “I wouldn’t be surprised and I hope we don’t end up having to go into another lockdown it’s nice having the freedom but if that’s what’s necessary to bring the infection rates under control then it’s just something you’ve got to do.

“Lockdown does have a bad affect on businesses having to close down of course, but it’s public health versus the economy and I think public health is far more important.”

Rob Sowerby, 68 from Aycliffe Framers and Engravers, said: “I will do the best I can to stay safe, and if people don’t want to stay safe then please don’t come in the shop.

The Northern Echo:

“It’s as simple as that, we’ve told a few people today, we’ve had two people one gentlemen realised he didn’t have his mask so went straight out.

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“Then two lads came in, I asked them where there mask was and straight away they put their masks on, so I don’t see it as a problem, it’s only people who are being silly.

“We’ve seen the cases on TV and in the news of people who have said it’s a waste of time and it’s false and it’s the government’s problem.

“There was a gentleman who died the other day because he had got Covid and was an anti-vaxxer and I’m sorry but it says a lot for what’s happening.

“If people want to risk their own health that’s fine but please don’t jeopardise mine and don’t jeopardise other peoples.

“Yes I do believe it helps, it may not be completely 100 per cent helping, but it’s a deterrent, all things are a deterrent at the moment.

“You have to have common sense because of the health and safety issues, however, common sense to start with, wear a mask, keep your distance.

“Do what you’re advised to do and think about what you’re doing for other people, it only takes one person to go into a crowded room and spread it to that crowded room, we’ve seen it already.

“I am worried about this new variant, any variant that has sprung up from the original Covid-19 worries me.

“I’m pleased it’s been picked up, and I’m concerned about it at the moment because there seems to be a rise in cases.

“The cases went up to around 750 per 100,000 yesterday and that is an increase over what the previous figures were.

“So yes I am concerned and I will keep my eyes on what is happening and I just rely upon the government, doesn’t matter how sackless they are or how clever they are.

“Everyone is fallible, we can’t blame the government for something that is happening such as a virus, which is what we’re doing.

“If we have a lockdown, I’m sure they would only put is in lockdown because it’s needed. The government are well aware of the pitfalls of putting us into lockdown.

“As well as the anguish it may cause people, there will always be those that will shout and scream about it,  but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

“You have a choice, you either do what you’re advised to or you can die, personally I don’t want to die and I don’t want to become ill.

“I’m 68 for god’s sake, so I’ll do what I deem is necessary, I’ll do what is necessary in the shop for people that work here and the people who come in.

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“If it happens it happens, it would be unfortunate if it did, but the only reason it would happen is if the cases go up because the stupid people decide not to wear their masks.”

In Northallerton, one staff member said that the business was “doing our bit” and most staff were coming in with masks on.

Linda Robinson of Grovers Optics Photo and Toymaster, said: “We’re all sort of doing our bit here, most of the staff have come in wearing masks.

“A lot more people will be coming in tomorrow with masks I feel.”

Martyn Liddle from J Thompson Butchers in Northallerton, said: “I would say 80% of people have been wearing them so far.

The Northern Echo:

“Staff have to wear them and it’s the only thing left that we can do to help stop the spread.

“I don’t like waring them but I think people will do it because you just have to get on with it for.

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“If people come in without them on they’re usually quite apologetic and then proceed to put one on or leave.”


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