THE PEOPLE of Gwent remain split on whether face masks should be mandatory in shops, an Argus poll can reveal.

From Friday, July 24, shoppers in England will have to wear a mask or face a fine of up to £100 – bringing the country in line with Scotland and other European countries like Spain, Italy and Germany.

But in Wales, it is still not compulsory.

You will only have to wear a face-covering when travelling on public transport from Monday, July 27.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the advice could change if coronavirus cases "begin to increase again".

South Wales Argus:

(Two shoppers wear face masks. Picture: PA)

And when asked whether the Welsh Government should introduce a law requiring people to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets, Argus readers were divided.

From 4,400 responses, 56 per cent said face coverings should be mandatory, while 44 per cent of people said it should not

This is what those who don’t think it should not be compulsory said:

Most of the respondents touched upon the same point – that it should have come into force months ago and that introducing it now would be ineffective.

Leighton Williams said: “Should be people's choice, can't make it mandatory now really being nearly five months late.”

And Julie Dawn Gwilliam said it should have been introduced “right at the beginning”.

South Wales Argus:

(Face masks are not mandatory in Welsh shops. Picture: PA)

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Kayley O’Leary said: “If we didn’t have to wear them at the height of the pandemic why now?

“If people want to wear them, great, go ahead. But don’t force people.

“It’ll stop people going out and they’ll just do their shopping online and put more people out of jobs.”

Michelle Farkas Jenkins, a care worker, said she has asthma and “cannot breathe” in a mask.

“I have to leave the room while doing my care every few minutes to take my mask off and breathe.”

This is what those who do think it should be compulsory said:

Vicki Lawrence said she wears “one in work to prevent me passing it on to others,” if she was asymptomatic.

“I could still get it though as many aren’t wearing masks.”

Chris Nixon said: “Yes, yes, yes. Whether it’s a late decision or not, it is literally the least you can do to help the current situation.”

South Wales Argus:

(The people of Gwent remain divided over wearing masks in shops. Picture: PA)

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Jay Vine said it is not “too late” to start wearing a mask.

“Wearing masks can and will prevent further spread of the virus and will save lives.

“I’d rather wear a mask outside than be on a ventilator.”

What else was said?

A few people asked whether the government would provide face masks, should they become compulsory.

Jayne Robertson said that “people on low incomes are going to struggle to afford them”.

“Even reusable ones need washing and people are struggling to afford the electricity, so only do the washing when desperate.”

And Donald Jones said: “I think if wearing masks is going to become mandatory, then it should be the government or council’s responsibility to provide us with said masks.”

What has the World Health Organisation said on face coverings?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has concluded that the use of a medical mask could prevent the spread of droplets from an infected person.

It said, however, that “there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including Covid-19″.