Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:

“WE are all expected to wear face masks when visiting stores and we have heard from retailers and police chiefs asking the public to respect the safety of shop staff and the wider community by taking this approach.

“Sussex Police will not be routinely patrolling stores but they will still be out and about in our communities and will continue, as they have done throughout this pandemic, to engage, explain and encourage the public to do the right thing, only using enforcement as a last resort.

“I understand that it may have been a difficult transition for many people, some of whom may have valid medical reasons for not wearing face masks and we should all be mindful of this fact and not judge too quickly. None of us want to see those with exemptions being deterred from shopping for essentials.

“The more people who adhere to the guidelines, the better chance we have of minimising the spread of the virus and the less unnecessary burden we place upon our emergency services. 

“Let’s not forget why we are doing this and please remember that, for every police officer who’s called to deal with a difficult customer refusing to wear a facemask, that’s one less officer available to arrest drug dealers, sex offenders and shoplifters.”