Wearing a face mask or face covering in shops and supermarkets will become mandatory in England next week, but many shoppers appear to be still hesitant to wear one.

Starting from July 24, shoppers who fail to comply with the new rules could face a fine of up to £100.

While the rule still has a week to be enforced, an observation around supermarkets and shops in Watford found that 75 per cent of shoppers who were inspected around some Watford stores yesterday afternoon (July 15), were not wearing a face covering.

In fact, out of the total of 132 people observed in various stores, just 33 customers were seen wearing a face mask or covering.

Shopping findings

When I visited the Morrisons by Ascot Road, I counted 65 shoppers inside the store at the time, and many of the staff members and none of the security guards were not wearing masks or a form of protection.

But alarmingly, just 11 out of the 65 shoppers were actually wearing a mask. From observation it appeared those who did wear a mask were roughly aged 50 or above and many who were not wearing masks did not seem concerned.

Even though masks are not yet mandatory, the general government advice is that it is safer for all parties involved to wear some form of covering.

The same trend occurred at visits to various stores at Watford town centre.

Watford Observer:

Shoppers were not pictured for privacy reasons

In Superdrug, out of the five customers recorded – none of them were wearing masks.

Pandora had six customers when I visited, and the only people who wore a mask or covering were the staff.

Here is a roundup of other recordings found that day:

• New Look – 15 customers, only four of which wearing a covering or mask

• Primark – 35 customers, 13 of which wearing a covering or mask

• Lovisa – 15 customers, 4 wearing a mask

A No 10 spokesman said: "There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.

"The Prime Minister has been clear that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and we will make this mandatory from July 24."

As is the case on public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt from wearing a covering.

How about on public transport?

Face coverings has been a requirement for the full duration of public transport journeys since June 15.

While there are still people flouting these rules, many commuters who were observed on July 15 were seen abiding them.

On the Metropolitan line heading to Watford station, the carriages were quite empty in the early afternoon and just 21 people were on board from Wembley Park station to Watford – and only four were not wearing a form of covering.

Watford Observer:

On the Metropolitan line, many wore face masks and only a select few did not

It appeared that two of the four commuters were teenagers, while the other two seemed to be middle aged.

Police were not seen on the tube at all during the journey, but in previous sightings officers have been inspecting tubes and urging people to wear masks when possible.

Another Metropolitan line tube which reached Watford station at around 5pm had 33 people leaving the tube, and just three of the passengers were recorded not wearing a covering.

Watford Observer:

Just before 33 passengers left the tube

Twenty passengers then got onto that tube as it changed its destination to Aldgate – and just two people were not wearing a mask.

One of the two commuters were also seen touching and rubbing their face near their eyes before the tube had departed.

By the time this tube reached around Moor Park, there were around 43 people on board, and 15 people were not wearing a covering or mask.