Public will have to wear face masks in Harrogate takeaway cafes

There is confusion among Harrogate customers today - and some cafes - about whether the Government's introduction of face masks for all shoppers tomorrow will apply to takeaway food and drink, too..

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 12:49 pm

Staff in at least one cafe in Harrogate town centre told the Harrogate Advertiser they had been given no instructions by managers about company policy on the issue.

But a leading independent cafe in Harrogate said it was ready and willing to cope with the new rules.

Though designed to counter any risk of coronavirius spreading, Britain's business world is quietly wary of face masks potentially negative impact on the country's fragile economy recovery.

Safety first - Staff in PPE serving customers in Baltzersen's Coffee Shop, Oxford Street, Harrogate. Now customers will also have to wear face masks in takeway food areas.

It had been thought originally that the Government change of heart on face masks would not apply to cafes and takeaway shops.

But, this morning, a minister confirmed on live TV that face masks WILL be mandatory at all takeaways and coffee shops from tomorrow, Friday, July 24.

But, he also added, it would not be practical to apply the new law to bars and restaurants with seated customers.

The new approach may now have the effect of opening the door to 'table service only' becoming the new norm in food and drink establishments.

But the boss of Baltzersen's, the Scandi-inspired gourmet cafe and independent bakery on Oxford Street, said his business welcomed the Government's clarification which would be accepted by all responsible businesses

.

Mr Rawlinson said: "We’re grateful for the clarity ahead of the regulation change tomorrow and of course we’ll comply with the guidance as any responsible business would."

Having allowed 'non essential' shops to reopen from lockdown more than a month ago, the Government’ new coronavirus protection measures which comes in tomorrow mean anyone caught without a mask in a shop - or who refuses to wear one - can now be fined up to £100 by the police.

Shops will also have the right to refuse entry to anyone who refuses to comply with the new law.

Earlier this week, the British Chambers of Commerce warned that the restart of the UK economy “still in first gear” with businesses operating at just half of normal capacity.

It warned the two biggest obstacles for businesses were lack of customer demand (54%) and the fear factor of possible future local lockdowns (52%).

The steep decline in business conditions seen at the start of the pandemic is levelling off, but firms still face extremely challenging conditions.

From polling polling conducted fro July 6-10 in partnership with global job site Indeed, almost half of businesses (46%) reported a slight or significant decrease in revenue from UK customers compared to June.

BCC director general Adam Marshall said:

“Our findings demonstrate that the UK’s economic restart is still very much in first gear.

“Businesses are grappling with reduced customer demand, an on-going cash crunch, and the potential for further lockdowns during an uncertain autumn and winter ahead.

“The Prime Minister’s encouragement to return to workplaces and further updates to business guidance will not be enough on their own.

“The time has come for the government to take radical steps to slash the tax burden around employment to help companies pay valued staff."

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