(Update: adds UK figures, Merkel travel quotes)
Madrid Desk, Sep 29 (efe-epa).- Supermarket and retail groups in the Netherlands said Tuesday they would not force people to wear face masks inside shops, a day after the government announced the new measures to tackle a sustained spike in Covid-19 cases, while the British prime minister was forced to apologize after he issued confusing and contradictory statements on new measures being imposed in the northeast of England to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Supermarkets in the Netherlands’ three largest cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague – have said they will not refuse entry to customers who are not wearing a mask after the government said that wearing face coverings should be compulsory from Tuesday.
In a statement, the Central Bureau for Food Trade (CBL), which represents the country’s supermarkets, said that the shops “support the advice of the cabinet and a number of mayors to wear a face mask in the shop in certain areas, but leave the choice to customers whether they actually do so.”
The government had also said that customers could be refused entry, but CBL said the “sector has decided not to do this to avoid a discussion” or “even aggression” from customers towards staff.
Wearing face masks on public transport in the Netherlands has been mandatory for months.
The measures announced by the government come amid a prolonged uptick of cases in the country, which this week has been reporting more than 3,000 daily cases, by far the highest since the pandemic began.
Local officials in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague have said the measures are insufficient, calling for rules making face masks in all indoor or enclosed public spaces mandatory.