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Shoppers in Diss keep masks on following Freedom Day

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Despite restrictions on mandatory mask wearing being lifted this week, shoppers in Diss have continued to wear them, almost universally, allaying fears that the high street could become a breeding ground for coronavirus.

Monday saw virtually all Covid restrictions lifted, including the one-metre social distancing rule and mandatory mask wearing, as part of the forth and final step of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

With YouGov polling in the weeks leading up to Freedom Day suggesting more than a quarter of people planned to cease wearing masks, some business owners have said they have not seen a single customer without one.

On July 19, the legal requirement to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces finished.
On July 19, the legal requirement to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces finished.

“100 per cent of people that have been in here have been wearing their masks,” said Sam Howard, who manages Fredericks Fine Foods in St Nicholas Street.

“If someone came in who didn’t want to wear a mask and it made someone else uncomfortable, we would ask the person not wearing a mask to wait outside until the customer had left, but we’ve not had to worry about that as I don’t recall anyone not wearing one.”

David Fielding-Gooderham, who manages the Antiques Shop on Market Hill, echoed this sentiment.

He said: “It’s ultimately up to the individual if they want to wear one, but most people are sensible. Surprisingly, most people have been wearing them.”

While the news may come as a relief to some, case rates in the Diss Express area continue to rise at an alarming rate.

In the week leading up to Friday, there were 21 reported cases of coronavirus in Diss, up from five the week prior.

In Harleston and Pulham, there were 22 cases reported – up from four the week before. Lastly, in Eye, Palgrave and Occold, there were 16 cases – up from two the week prior.

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