Shopkeepers in Dundee claim customers are continuing to flout government rules which make face masks mandatory.
One claimed as much as 70% of his customers have shown up to his business without the coverings.
The owner, who declined to be named, said: “There’s nothing we can do about it, we can’t tell them to go out or make them wear a mask.
“We can only ask them why they don’t have one and remind them to bring one next time.”
He said staff were doing everything they could to protect themselves by wearing face masks, using sanitiser and standing behind a screen at the counter area.
He added: “What kind of area your shop is in depends how aware people are about wearing masks, when your shop is in a scheme – they don’t bother.”
Another shop owner from a different area outside the city centre said about 40% of his customers were not wearing masks in store.
The man, who also asked to remain anonymous, said: “When we ask them why they don’t have a mask they say they are asthmatic or they have other health issues.
“We can only kindly ask them to wear one, that’s all we can do.”
But Mohammad Saleem, owner of Premier Store, on Strathmore Avenue said 90 to 95% of his customers were wearing masks and staff offer a free covering to those who are not.
He said: “We can’t pressure them into wearing it, we can just ask and give them a free one.
“Some of them say they are asthmatic and then there’s nothing we can do. They might not be telling the truth, we can’t say.”
Peter Serreenu, shop assistant at Day-Today Elite, on Brownhill Road, also said there was a similar level of compliance among his customers.
He said: “Some people don’t bother so I remind them and they do come in wearing one next time.
“I feel okay about it until they have any cough but we have a screen for protection.”
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “The chief constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing, and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.
“Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance. We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation.
“A number of exemptions exist that mean certain people are not required to wear a face covering in a shop.
“We would encourage people to raise any concerns with business owners or staff in the first instance.”