TRADERS are in support of the mandatory wearing of masks but emphasised that they can't be expected to enforce the new rule.

The government has now made face coverings obligatory on public transport and in shops, following the discovery of the new Omicron variant.

Anyone not wearing a mask could face a £200 fine.

Rebecca at Gallery 65 in Westbourne said: "Everyone's been wearing a mask, not everyone's been wearing a mask properly but we keep our distance anyway.

"We will enforce masks but to leave it to the owners and the businesses to enforce it is a bit harsh but we support it and most people have been good, it's just there is a lot of under the nose type wearing."

Adam Stocker at Westbourne Grocers said: "We find in here any way that people tend to wear masks most of the time, you get one or two but it depends how you want to handle that.

"You can't tell them that they need to wear a mask, some people are put off by wearing masks so its almost like your turning them away.

"We've had a couple today that haven't but we didn't said anything, whether we should or not or whether we can, I don't know."

David at Every Cloud Vape Shop said: "People that come in here typically today have been wearing masks, all I can do if they come in without one is advise them.

"If they haven't got one, I've got some that I can just hand out to them but by law I can't enforce anything.

"Myself I have to sit here for the duration of the day with the mask on, other than that its been pretty much the same so far."

One shopper said: "I’m happy to start wearing a mask again if it means it’ll help stop covid spreading and means I will also be able to spend time with my family over Christmas.

"With it being my daughters first Christmas it would be disappointing having to go back into lockdown. It’s a small thing to do to ensure we all get to be together."

The government's updated rules on face coverings in England came into force on November 30.

Members of the public are now required to wear face coverings in a number of venues including shops, post offices, premises providing personal care and beauty treatments, pharmacies, supermarkets and on public transport.

The new rules do not apply to pubs and restaurants, amid concerns about the economic impact.

Those who break the rules will face £200 fines, which could rise to as much as £6,400.