Retailers in Midhurst and Petworth opt to keep mask rules despite new freedoms

Despite the arrival of ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday, large numbers of businesses across Midhurst and Petworth are keeping masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing measures in place.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 5:16 pm

Speaking to this newspaper, business owners talked about a need to keep staff and customers safe amid rising Covid infections and said a majority of customers are doing so anyway.

On Monday, the Prime Minister urged caution as cases continue to rise, but lifted the legal requirement for mask-wearing indoors.

Sally Matson, chair of Petworth Businesses Association (PBA), said: “With Covid numbers increasing it is vital that we are able to stay safe and healthy and look after ourselves, our staff, and our customers.

Sally Matson and Karen West at Red Card

“Petworth is full of small independent businesses and if one member of staff has to isolate, that can mean the business will have to close.

“We have been so lucky so far and worked so hard to ride this storm that we really need our customers to continue to support us and help everyone to look out for each other.”

A majority of the PBA’s members have opted to keep the mask-wearing rules in place in their businesses.

Those members have also placed a poster, created by illustrator Rosie Johnson, in their windows.

Andrew Chiverton at The Crafty Pint in Midhurst

Andrew Chiverton, owner of The Crafty Pint in Midhurst said he has found most people are continuing to wear masks and sanitise.

He said: “I must admit, I haven’t found very much has changed.

“I have left a screen up at the till and we still have a sign in the window asking people to wear masks.”

Andrew, who has to shield himself, added: “Although I have been double jabbed, at the moment with the R rate going as it is, this is probably the way it should be.”

Poster by Rosie Johnson Illustrations

Andrew also gave his thanks to customers for continuing to support the shop safely.

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