MANY retailers and hospitality businesses will be encouraging customers to wear a mask when the legal requirement to do so is lifted on Monday.

The government has said it “expects and recommends” that masks should still be worn by staff and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces when Covid regulations are lifted.

Supermarkets Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrison and Waitrose have become the latest big names to say they would still be encouraging mask wearing. Other retailers, including Specsavers and Waterstones, have announced similar policies.

John Grinnell, manager of Poole’s Dolphin Centre, said it would be “encouraging shoppers to follow our recommended safety procedures and ask them to be respectful of others”.

“Social distancing will still be in place to keep our customers and staff safe, but we will be removing the directional signage that is currently in the mall areas of the centre,” he said.

“It is also recommended and encouraged that customers wear a face covering when inside the centre. Additionally, hand sanitiser will still be available for all and should be used frequently during shoppers’ visits.”

Tony Brown, chief executive of New Start 2020 – which runs the revived Beales in Poole – said: “We can ‘t force people to wear masks but we ask them to. We’re asking our staff to continue with wearing masks but it’s personal choice so we’re encouraging people to be sensible and follow government guidelines.

“We’re still staying cashless because that works very well and it’s a lot cheaper being cashless than it is trying to bank money every day.”

The store will still be cleaned by “fogging” and there will be social distancing markers on the floor. “I’m still very cautious. I still wear a mask when I go into an indoor space,” said Mr Brown.

Julian Winfield, chief executive of Dorset-based Haskins Garden Centres, said: “We will still be carefully managing the numbers in our centres using our electronic counters and encouraging customers to wear a face covering when inside. Hand sanitiser should continue to be used frequently and contactless payment should also be used where possible.

“Covid testing for our staff will remain in place and the same guidance will be shared with them on the recommended use of face coverings to ensure a safe experience for all.”

64% adults will keep wearing face masks in shops and on public transport – ONS

Chris Chapman, head of managed operations at Dorset-based brewery Hall & Woodhouse, said: “Throughout the past 18 months the safety of our guests and team has been our utmost priority and this remains the case as we transition into a ‘new normal way of working’.

“As such, our enhanced cleaning regimes in our houses will continue to be in operation, along with our hand sanitiser stations and ventilation methods. We are pleased that our guests will now be able to use the bar in our pubs, but also have the option to enjoy our beautiful pub gardens this summer.

“Face coverings are encouraged to be worn by both team and guests when in our pubs and the NHS Track & Trace system will be available for guests to use if they wish, or we have implemented our own system if they don’t have the NHS app. Teams will continue where possible to maintain social distancing and we will monitor this closely to ensure they are supported if they develop Covid symptoms and require to self-isolate.”