Face masks GettyImages-1216050976

Independent retailers have been urged not to put themselves at risk to enforce face covering guidelines despite mounting pressure.

Following reports of tighter restrictions in stores and announcements from major retailers that they would not be allowing customers without a face mask that didn’t have a medical exemption to shop in their stores, attention turned to the convenience sector on the enforcing of face masks.

A poll conducted on social media by Convenience Store found that 57% of respondents would enforce face masks in their store while 43% wouldn’t, however there are concerns that while multiple retailers have the resources to enforce face mask bans, convenience stores don’t have the same tools at their disposal.

Speaking on BBC earlier this week, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said it would be tough for convenience retailers to dedicate the same level of resources.

“It is not a policy that is feasible in small stores. In a supermarket, you’ve got security guards and colleagues while in a small shop, you’re likely to only have around two colleagues there. It is asking too much for them to challenge people who may become abusive or violent [when asked to wear a mask]. We welcome Morrisons’ decision but it wouldn’t be right for most convenience stores.”

The ACS has also made downloadable resources available to help retail workers and their customers stay safe and reminded retailers that the police can issue fines for non-compliance.

Retailers also took to social media to encourage shoppers to wear a mask while in stores.