The “pingdemic” begins as mask-wearing restrictions are lifted on the UK’s so-called “freedom day”.
Shop workers are prepared to be “pinged” by their NHS app as high street shoppers return to a semblance of normal after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a change to restrictions.
It has been predicted by SAGE experts that the current rise of Covid-19 cases is set to get even higher post freedom day, as people relax about face coverings.
In the Lynn high street there is a clear divide of opinion.
Many are still donning masks to enter shops, and there are signs on some businesses that politely ask patrons to “wear a mask if they can”.
Fast food chain McDonald’s has a sign on the door that says: “As a courtesy to our team members, please continue to wear a face covering when ordering at the front counter or speaking with a member of our team. Thank you.”
The Lynn News approached a member of McDonald’s management to ask about the policy and clarity on any customer who chooses not to wear a mask at the counter, but they declined to comment.
In Waterstones, staff were wearing masks in the store.
Waterstones team member Tim Callaghan said: “We respect other’s choice to wear a mask or not, but we choose to continue to wear one to protect others.”
A member of the public said that it was “mandatory” to wear a mask in QD Stores but when asked a QD staff member said: “We can’t force anyone to do anything, it’s their choice.”
Independent gift store Deck of Cards stands virtually alone on the High Street in Lynn, after the closure of the hairdressers and department store giant Debenhams.
They have a sign on the front window asking people to “wear masks if they can do so.”
Proprietor Bernadette Chappell said: “Everyone is welcome, I want to make that clear, we wouldn’t turn anyone away.
“But we have a lot of elderly customers and we want to keep them safe as well as the shop itself.
“We can’t afford to go under, and independent businesses have struggled during the pandemic, we need to get back on track again. Our staff need a job to come back to, some of my staff have been here for 30 years.”
Most customers heading into the gift shop were seen to be wearing masks.
One said: “I’m going to keep wearing my mask when I go in places, to protect myself and others.”
Volunteers at the Corn Exchange vaccine centre have been advised to wear masks as have all members of the NHS and other health services.
This news brought to you by the Lynn News, local and trusted, download the Lynn News app