The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has said that retailers should not challenge customers who refuse to abide by new face mask rules.

From today, masks are once again compulsory in shops, as the government looks to slow the spread of new Covid-19 Omicron.

The ACS said that retailers will again be required to communicate the rules on face coverings to customers using signage in store.

Retailers will have the right to refuse entry to customers who won’t wear a face covering, but are not responsible for enforcement, the ACS said.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are helping retailers to prepare for the change in face covering rules, but they are extremely concerned about abuse against their staff from customers who don’t want to wear a face covering in a shop. We will continue to urge stores to communicate the rules, but not to challenge those who refuse to abide by them.”

The ACS said that fixed penalty notices for non-compliance will be £200, doubling per additional offence. The regulations will expire on December 20, subject to review.

While masks are also compulsary in settings such as banks, hairdressers and public transport, hospitality outlets remain exempt.