SHOP owners and business representatives in Kendal have expressed concerns over the incoming requirement for customers to wear face masks.

As of tomorrow, putting on a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is set to become mandatory

Those who fail to comply with the new rules could be hit with fines of up to £100.

However, shopkeepers and supermarket workers are sceptical about the benefits of the new rules - which have been in force for months across other parts of Europe - as well as their enforceability.

Sharon Walker, manager of the Sandylands Spar store, said the Government’s move was ‘too little, too late’ and that she would not be employees or customers to wear a mask while in the shop.

“We’re supposed to be supporting the high street and encouraging people to shop at the moment - not the opposite,” she said.

“What’s going to happen is we’re just going to see another dip- we’re about to undo all of the good work of the past few weeks by doing this.

“It’ll drive down demand for shops like ours and people will turn to online grocery shopping even more.

"I’ve been told by a friend working for Asda’s online delivery service that they’re already inundated with orders as it is.

“If they’d done this nearer the beginning of the pandemic, it wouldn’t be such a problem - people would’ve been able to get used to it and it wouldn’t be an issue now.

“None of my employees have been forced to wear masks and not one of them has been infected with Covid over the past few months.

“So, no, I won’t be enforcing the rule myself here. And I don’t think we have the policing resources in the area to have officers coming and standing outside of shops to enforce it.”

Sarah Williams, the manager of Kendal BID, said: “We have to do what the Government says - we don’t have a choice in that.

"So we’’ll either sink or swim.

“We’ll have to just see if people can adapt to it or not.

"But - even though there are reports it doesn’t make a jot of difference - I’m hoping it’ll make people feel a bit safer.

“So I’m hoping this move brings confidence to the high street rather than fear.”