London‘s Borough Market has become the first outdoor space in the UK to legally enforce the wearing of face masks.
From Monday, customers and vendors at the food and drink market will face a £50 fine if they do not wear a face covering in and around the stalls.
Pictures taken in the market in December showed vast swathes of shoppers crammed in as they browsed through stalls.
The drastic move comes as the Government considers making wearing masks outdoors compulsory for all Britons under harsh new lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson met cabinet colleagues last night to discuss an even-tougher lockdown – with measures including a ban on extended bubbles and limits on exercise.
A Whitehall source told MailOnline ministers have discussed going as far as saying people can only leave the house once a week – although No10 today denied this was on the cards saying the focus was on ‘bolstering enforcement and policing’.
Borough Market has its own set of bylaws passed in Parliament – which date back to before the Victorian era and have been updated to reflect the pandemic – meaning it can enforce mask wearing without it being a country-wide rule.
Kate Howell, director of development at the central London venue, said: ‘I think we just have to be responsible.’
Ms Howell said: ‘We’re open as an essential retailer but we want to keep it safe for everybody.’
Market organisers have encouraged mask-wearing and distancing throughout the pandemic – but with rising infection rates in the capital and the third national lockdown in England they felt they had to go further.