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Face coverings for Northern Ireland shoppers backed by retailer as PSNI stays silent on enforcement

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Pete Boyle, managing director of jewellery chain Argento, outside one of his stores

Pete Boyle, managing director of jewellery chain Argento, outside one of his stores

Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride

Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride

A shopper wears a face mask

A shopper wears a face mask

Retail NI’s Glyn Roberts

Retail NI’s Glyn Roberts

Pete Boyle, managing director of jewellery chain Argento, outside one of his stores

One of Northern Ireland's best-known retailers has said he is in favour of compulsory face coverings for shoppers as the debate over masks intensified.

Health Minister Robin Swann has said he will make a proposal to the Executive to make face coverings mandatory in shops, while Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride has also indicated he is in favour of the measure.

But trade groups Retail NI and the Belfast Chamber have said they are opposed to making them compulsory, saying that it could threaten the already fragile recovery of the retail sector.