Wearing a face covering in shops in England will become mandatory from 24 July.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, with enforcement carried out by the police.
While shop staff should encourage compliance, retailers and business owners will not be expected to enforce the policy, the government has indicated.
Coverings have been compulsory on public transport in England since 15 June and, as on public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities, will be exempt.
The move will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European countries like Spain, Italy and Germany on the wearing of face coverings in wider public life.
Speaking on Monday (13 July) before the decision last night, Deben Travel boss Lee Hunt said he felt the mandatory wearing of face coverings could deter customers from booking in store.
“I think one of the key selling points of a travel agency is that people can come in and chat to you,” he told TTG’s One Week At A Time (below).
“It’s people buying from people, that’s what I enjoy most about being in the shop. Meeting people, chatting with them, having a bit of banter where you can – and if face coverings are [made compulsory] I think it will detract from that.”
A No 10 spokesperson said: "There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.
"The prime minister has been clear that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and we will make this mandatory from 24 July."
The British Retail Consortium said it hoped the announcement "will make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the high street".