Jeremy Corbyn today defied new face mask rules when he went shopping without a covering on the first day restrictions were brought in to protect the public.
The former Labour leader, 71, was spotted inside an Italian deli in Islington, North London without a mask, risking a £100 spot fine under the new law.
He was later photographed wearing a blue face covering around his neck as he left a Nationwide bank with his wife Laura Alvarez, before donning a mask as he walked back from the shops with a takeaway coffee.
Under new rules issued amid the coronavirus outbreak, face coverings are now mandatory in enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, shops, transport stations, banks and takeaways in England.
Failure to comply could result in a £100 fine, although police forces have indicated they will only respond as a ‘last resort’. Scotland Yard said it hopes shoppers who refuse to wear masks will be ‘shamed’ into compliance.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured in Islington, north London today) defied new face covering rules when he went shopping without a mask on the first day restrictions were brought in to protect the public
Despite the change in law, Mr Corbyn and his wife were today photographed shopping in Islington without wearing a face mask.
He was later seen holding a blue face covering as he spoke to Britons outside a shop – and wearing it around his neck as he walked out of a Nationwide bank.
It is unclear whether he wore the mask over his face inside the building.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was today photographed wearing a black face covering as he visited the Tollgate Medical Centre in Beckton, east London.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also shared an image of himself wearing a mask reading ‘Protect the NHS’, as he urged others to ‘please wear a mask’.
Mr Corbyn’s outing comes as senior police figures urged retailers to enforce the new laws, but there was confusion across the country with different businesses having different policies on coverings.
He was later photographed wearing a blue face covering around his neck as he left a Nationwide bank with his wife Laura Alvarez. It is unclear whether he wore the mask over his face inside the building
The former Labour leader, 71, was spotted inside an Italian deli in Islington, North London without a mask, risking a £100 spot fine under the new law
Sainsbury’s, Asda, Co-Op and Costa Coffee are among the firms saying they would not police the coronavirus rules, which also require people to cover their faces in all transport hubs, shopping centres and petrol stations.
McDonald’s, on the other hand, are enforcing the rules, with customers in a Chelmsford, Essex branch ordered to leave for not wearing a mask.
The fast food giant said takeaway customers will need to wear the masks but those who eat in the restaurant will not.
Meanwhile, customers reported seeing fights break out in supermarkets, with masked shoppers confronting those not wearing a covering.
One person wrote: ’10:05am I entered Sainsbury’s, 10:08am there’s a fight in the second isle because someone hasn’t got a mask on and the lady with her kid was panicking and shouting at the anti masker ….. end result?
Pictured: Mr Corbyn holds a blue face covering as he speaks to Britons outside a shop in Islington
Mr Corbyn later wore his mask as he walked back from the shops with a takeaway coffee
‘Lady picks up a tub of double cream and throws it in their face.’
Under the rules, even customers entering banks now must don a mask, but young children and people with medical conditions affected by a mask are exempt.
Police are now urging shops to refuse entry to people not wearing face coverings.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘I would urge retail outlets to play their part in making the rules crystal clear – if you are not wearing a face covering then you are not coming in.
‘Officers will be there to help stores if needed – but only as a last resort, as we simply do not have the resources.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was today photographed wearing a black face covering as he visited the Tollgate Medical Centre in Beckton, east London
Speaking about those who might have exemptions, Mr Apter added: ‘If you’re out shopping today and you see somebody not wearing a face covering it may be because they have a hidden disability. Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t have a go at them. This is new for us all, it’s about keeping each other safe. Please be nice!’
A mask can only be removed in a shop for a small number of reasons, such as allowing staff to check someone’s identity or age or to communicate with a deaf lip reader.
Shop staff do not have to wear coverings but it is ‘strongly recommended’ that employers ask them to do so unless they have other precautions such as screens.
Mr Corbyn has been contacted for comment.