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Mixed reaction on first day of new mask rule; It was the day when it became law to wear face coverings in shops and enclosed public spaces. So how did Welsh shoppers react? Our (masked) reporters Aamir Mohammed and Lydia Stephens went out and about in Cardiff and Porth to find out...

Byline: Aamir Mohammed and Lydia Stephens

THE sun was shining as shoppers visited Cardiff city centre yesterday, on the first day face masks had become mandatory in Wales.

The reaction was mixed, with some questioning why they weren't made mandatory before and others refusing to wear one.

John Davidson, 32, who works in the city centre, said: "I've come in to town for some shopping on my day off and I'm not wearing a mask.

"I watch people walk around daily either not wearing a mask or wearing it incorrectly so what's the point? I'd rather just do my shopping in peace."

Sarah Buckley, 21, said: "I've just moved back for university and I've seen online that people are blaming students for not wearing masks.

"Most of the students in my accommodation seem to be following the rules and I hope people keep it up to be safe."

When the announcement was made on Friday few people would've been happier than Raymond Holmes, 73, who sells face masks on Queen Street.

The 73-year-old from Ely, who imports the masks from China and sells them to shoppers, said: "I've been here every day for the last few weeks and only now people have been taking it seriously.

"I was also out for a few pints in the night and people were outside queuing not social distancing or wearing masks, it was disgraceful.

"The council did clamp down on them and fair enough, but people should be taking it more seriously...

"Thankfully most people seem to be aware of the new rules and I expect business to get busier."

Of course, some people can't wear masks for medical reasons.

Ben Richards, 48, said: "I'm asthmatic and when I see people walking around without a mask on it really frustrates me - it shouldn't be happening. I'm worried for my health and my kids' health, it's not fair that we could suffer because of other people.

"The country came together during the pandemic - let's not ruin it now and go in to a second lockdown, which unfortunately seems inevitable."

Tom Owen, 22, from Cardiff, added: "I refuse to wear a face mask because it makes me feel suffocated. Today is the first day that I have because they won't let you in the arcade otherwise.

"It's ridiculous, it should be a personal choice, not a forced one."

Across town, at Tesco Extra on Western Avenue, very few shoppers walked the aisles without their masks on.

A security guard at the door asking a person who was on their way in if they had a mask to wear.

The man said "no" and asked if the store was handing them out. The security guard advised them that they didn't have masks to hand out and while the store couldn't enforce it they could advise people to wear them. The man left the store without entering.

It provided reassurance to some customers, but one couple said it makes no sense that shops can't enforce the rule when it is law.

One woman said: "It makes no sense. If they can enforce the law of not selling alcohol to under-18-yearolds, then they can enforce this law."

Meanwhile, in Morrisons in Porth one shopper had an unusual approach. The customer, who did not want to give his name, was wearing a plastic green monster mask.

He added: "They wouldn't let me in here without a mask on, but they let me in with this. I don't agree with it."

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Shoppers wearing their masks in Cardiff

WALESONLINE

An unusual mask is worn in Morrisons in Porth

A sign at the entrance to a shop in Porth
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Author:Aamir Mohammed and Lydia Stephens
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 15, 2020
Words:609
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