Eastbourne residents raise issue around ‘lack of face masks’ in shopping centre

A number of residents in Eastbourne have raised concerns around the lack of people wearing masks in the shopping centre.

The Beacon in Eastbourne
The Beacon in Eastbourne

On November 30 rules around face masks changed as the government now requires everyone to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops as it assesses the continued rise in rates and the rapid emergence of the new variant, known as Omicron.

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Despite this, a number of people say they’ve seen very few people wearing masks in The Beacon – both in the shops and the indoor walkway.

One resident said, “We have exceptionally high covid rates, it’s outrageous.”

Another resident said if he were to smoke in the centre someone would say something, but he views this as ‘far worse’.

Although shop staff are wearing masks, a resident said ‘hundreds of customers’ weren’t when he visited on December 2.

A spokesperson for The Beacon said, “From November 30, it is mandatory for everyone, unless they are exempt, to wear a face mask in the shopping centre and in shops. Hospitality and medical services are exempt.

“We have put up signage explaining the new rules and we ask people to respect them to slow down the spread of the variant and protect each other.

“If anyone not wearing a face mask is seen by our staff then they will be advised to put one on.”

According to government information, police officers can enforce compliance and transport operators can deny access to a service, direct someone to wear a mask, or ask them to leave, if they don’t have a legitimate reason for not wearing one.

People not following the rules could also face a fixed penalty of £200, which is reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days.