Face masks GettyImages-1216050976

The subject of face masks is getting a lot of coverage (sorry) including on the Convenience Store site but Johanna Woolford asks that it be raised again. She runs Camden Stores Farm Shop in Brecon, Powys and says: “We are doing battle with the anti mask brigade jumping on the back of exemptions not having to be proved or evidenced. We have a shop policy now of needing some proof that they are legitimately entitled to an exemption to reassure us that it is safe to expose staff and other customers to a non mask wearer and they can then come in if they wear a face visor. (We are happy to give them a complimentary visor, just as Costco do.)

“We are now being trolled by a few delights over disability rights and the fact that we are not allowed to challenge them. This behaviour is very unpleasant. I’m sure we are not the only small business being confronted with this problem? The system of not needing to actually prove they are exempt seems to be wrong and has opened the door for the anti vax/mask followers.”

Johanna has also written to her MP about the exemption loophole who replied that unfortunately the government had no plans to issue proper ID cards to anyone. “It’s being left to people to be ‘honest’…?”

Now she is being hounded by a few ‘delightful’ people threatening her with prosecution for discrimination. As she concludes: “Urgh.”

It’s all very well for the government to make mask-wearing mandatory and it’s fine for the likes of Sainsbury which can afford to post a security guard on the door but not at all fine for smaller premises with few – if any – staff to police this. Some retailers are refusing to serve those not following the rules but, as always, the only advice must be don’t put yourself at risk either from virus or violence which makes for pretty useless advice sometimes.

My daughter-in-law works in a park cafe and when people come in without a mask she makes a big show of putting hers on (even though she is behind a screen) and sanitising her hands. Sometimes it works although the other day she had an unhinged woman telling her that masks were the devil’s work and that she should now drink charcoal water to offset the alcohol she had just taken in through the sanitiser.

As I said to Johanna, I subscribe to the perfectly innocuous social media site Nextdoor.com and within five minutes a discussion on any subject can turn into a tirade of abuse…hardly anyone agrees to disagree any more.

We are living in a hair-trigger society. What do you do in your store?

If you’ve got a retail problem, call Jac on 020 8502 9775 or email: jac@roper-biz.co.uk.