Shops installing CCTV that blocks entry to people if they aren’t wearing a mask

A new CCTC security system that tell if shoppers are wearing a face mask – and refuse entry to those who aren’t – is now being installed at a number of stores across the UK.

The technology is being fitted by shops to ban awkward customers who refuse to wear a face covering during the coronavirus pandemic.

BirminghamLive discovered that as many as HALF of people visiting one branch of Morrisons were not bothering to wear a face covering after the city first went into lockdown.

The new CCTV system can tell if a person is wearing a mask – and won’t let them in if they aren’t

And one Midlands attraction said it has experienced ‘aggressive’ behaviour from visitors when they were asked to put on a mask, or to wear it properly. It warned that anyone being abusive would be asked to leave immediately.

With coronavirus cases on the rise and England now in a three-tier system of lockdown restrictions, some stores are turning to technology to deal with non-compliant members of the public.

The camera system works out if a potential customer approaching the entry doors is wearing a mask or not and then displays a message on a screen to allow or deny access.

Customers who are not wearing a mask are refused entry automatically through the electronic doors.

“The technology is just fantastic; the CCTV system automatically allows or denies access to the shop and means staff don’t have to be put at risk from difficult customers complaining, or potentially worse”, explains James Ritchey from  CCTV.co.uk

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How the Face Mask Detecting CCTV works:

  1. A customer walks towards the shop entrance
  2. The CCTV system works out using artificial intelligence if the person is wearing a mask or not
  3. A green or red message is displayed on a screen
  4. If the customer is wearing a mask, access is allowed
  5. If not, entry is refused – the doors won’t open

One garden centre in Yorkshire got the system up and running last week.

Whiteley’s Garden Centre in Mirfield is using a Videcon system to control customers behaviour at the main entrance to the store.

They welcome 450 visitors a day, and said staffing the door was a full-time job. They say they have seen a 50 per cent decrease in customer non-compliance.

The solution has been developed because it is now the shops’ responsibility to protect both their own staff and the health of their customers.

Mr Ritchey added: “Retailers are working so hard to stay open during these most difficult times, and this system means staff aren’t in the firing line from customers unhappy about current restrictions.

“The other side of using an automated system is it gives customers worried about the virus confidence as they enter a tightly controlled secure Covid-19 store.”

Under the latest Government guidance for England, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings:

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see  exemptions )
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and lettings agents
  • theatres
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities
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The Government says people are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed above where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.

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Check latest coronavirus cases for your area by typing the postcode in the box below:

What can legally be done about it if you don’t wear one?

Premises where face coverings are required “should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law”, the Government said.

Police can take action if members of the public do not comply with the law without a valid exemption and transport operators can deny access if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to either put one on or get off the service.

Police and Transport for London officers have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days) for the first offence.

Repeat offenders receiving fines on public transport or in an indoor setting will have their fines doubled at each offence.

Receiving a second fine will amount to £400 and a third fine will be £800, up to a maximum value of £6,400.

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