WITH face masks set to become mandatory in shops from July 24, we headed into Brighton city centre to see how many people were currently wearing them.

First up was North Street.

The road is home to the likes of Sports Direct, Decathlon, Boots, Habitat, Oliver Bonas and more, and is a pathway for many looking to make their way towards the station and Churchill Square.

The Argus spent ten minutes in the street, counting the numbers of passersby who were, and were not, wearing a mask.

Between 4.40pm and 4.50pm today 237 walked and rode past.

Of these, 27 were wearing a mask.

The Argus:

Next up was Kensington Gardens. Lined with a string of popular shops such as Snooper’s Paradise and Resident Music, it is the jewel of the North Laine district.

Between 5.05pm and 5.15pm, 175 people made their way in and out of the narrow street.

A total of 156 were not wearing a mask, leaving 19 with a face covering.

The Argus:

Finally, to see how much would have to change when face masks were made mandatory in shops, we counted how many people entering the Sainsbury’s store in New England Street were wearing a mask.

A total of 59 people entered the store between 5.20pm and 5.30pm, with 42 not wearing a face covering and the remaining 17 wearing a mask.

However, of these 17, five only put a mask on to enter the store.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that face masks would be compulsory in shops from July 24.

Those not complying with the update will face fines of £100 and shop staff are able to call the police to enforce the new rule.

The Argus:

Mask wearing has already been made compulsory on public transport. This was brought in on June 15.

We asked Argus readers if they believed face masks should be worn in public spaces.

Jennifer Littlechild said: “Yes they should, people have no common sense and no respect.

“I am a nurse and see this happening every day.”

Aaron Rudd agreed.

He said: “Why is this even a debate? (You should) wear a face covering in any enclosed space if possible.”

But Phillip Worron disagreed.

He said: “I was on the side of caution.but as there’s been no second wave after all the large beach groups and protests I am now carrying on as before not living in fear.

“I don’t wear one (a mask). It’s up to people if they do or do not. We live in a free society.

The Argus:

“I have had two friends die of it (coronavirus) and one is currently on a ventilator.

“But they all had underlying heath issues.

“I know of many that have had it due to being tested and (it has) not affected them at all.

“We take bigger risks to our lives every day than this.”

More than 45,000 people in UK hospitals have now died after contracting coronavirus.

Dr Luke James, medical director for healthcare company Bupa, encouraged people to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.

In an advisory article, he said: “You may be surprised to hear that the main aim of wearing a face covering is to stop you spreading the coronavirus to others, rather than to protect yourself.

“When you cough or sneeze you release droplets in the air.

“Face masks and coverings work by stopping these droplets from spreading and infecting other people.

“Many people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms, so it’s possible to have the virus without knowing it, and pass it to others.

The Argus:

“There’s evidence that medical face masks may help to reduce that chance.

“Unfortunately, scientists don’t have enough good information yet about just how well homemade face masks work in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

“However, these masks do seem to have some benefit.

“It’s thought that, like medical masks, they might help prevent you passing the virus to others, rather than protecting you from getting it.

“Not having enough evidence doesn’t mean something doesn’t work; it just means it’s too early to say for sure.”