Shoppers in the town centre are still not wearing masks, just two days before it becomes mandatory across the country.

Masks will become compulsory on July 24 meaning anyone visiting any shop or public building will have to wear a facial covering.

But only 22 per cent of people were wearing masks in the town centre in the middle of the day yesterday.

The Adver spent half-a-hour on the busy stretch opposite HMV on Regent Street yesterday and counted 405 people.

Of those, 89 people wore masks with the other 316, 78 per cent, not wearing a covering of any kind.

It was a similar sight going in and out of shops.

During a 10-minute period outside Primark, only 14 shoppers wore masks out of 52 counted. H&M was a similar sight with only 8 customers wearing masks out of 23.

And shoppers might start leaving the high street when masks do become compulsory.

A poll on the Advertiser's website showed that, of the 403 people who voted, 55 per cent said masks would put them off shopping. The remaining 45 per cent said it would have no effect.

But on Facebook, shoppers were more open to visiting with a mask.

John Bowen said: "I shop when I need to and have been wearing a mask from the early days of this plague.

"I am an asthmatic and they fog up my glasses, but I think it is a sensible precaution."

Debbie Standing put things into perspective by saying: "It won't put me off, no reason to be scared of a little mask, I'm more scared of catching Covid."

But others were more cautious with Geetha Cheedella being concerned about the criminal risk.

She said: "It’s easy to steal and CCTV will not know your face.

"Maybe we should have stricter rules saying no personal bags and if they do they're left at the tills."

Athena Ridewood added: "I will not be wearing one. It's my face and should be my decision whether I want some fabric covering it.

"This whole thing is just stupid and I'm sick of hearing it. This virus is never going to just magically disappear.

"Masks don't do anything because you are still touching stuff that could have traces of the virus on."