Freedom Day: Where will you be asked to keep wearing a face mask?

The Mercury shopping centre in Romford will not be enforcing facemasks after July 19. 

The Mercury shopping centre in Romford will not be enforcing facemasks after July 19. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

As the legal requirement to wear a mask is dropped by the government, many Romford businesses have taken on the responsibility of enforcing face coverings going forward.

Chain supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi and Lidl in Romford will be encouraging customers to wear face masks when in the stores.  

Specsavers in Romford will be retaining safety measures such as PPE and sanitising, as well as keeping doors open to improve ventilation and enforcing mandatory face masks.  

Specsavers clinical services director Giles Edmonds said: "We want our customers and colleagues to feel safe at all times, so in line with guidance from the NHS, we are keeping safety measures in place, including the wearing of face coverings, unless there is a medical exemption."

Havering Council has also called on residents to continue wearing face coverings and maintain a social distance when using any of its buildings, such as Romford Central Library and while on public transport.   

Director of public health at Havering Council, Mark Ansell, said: “As legal restrictions ease – I encourage everyone to be careful and considerate by keeping up the hands, face and space guidance while out and about.

"And remember being vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and others."

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Collectables store The Romford Gift Centre in The Liberty Shopping centre will be encouraging its customers to continue wearing face masks, with signs on the entrance.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust’s (BHRUT) Queen’s hospital in Romford and King George hospital in Goodmayes, in line with other NHS organisations, will be asking patients and visitors to wear a face covering while in its hospitals.  

Chief nurse for BHRUT, Kathryn Halford, said: “Sadly, we are not yet free from the risk of Covid. Cases are rising in our boroughs and some people have not been vaccinated. 

“We are aware some of our staff and patients may feel anxious about the relaxation of rules, and we want to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to keep our hospitals safe.” 

Centre manager at The Mercury shopping mall, Spencer Hawken, said the centre "will not be enforcing facemasks moving along the lines of the government directive".  

He added that so far, around 95 per cent of customers are continuing to wear masks inside the mall. Hand sanitiser will remain in place around the centre.