Police are planning to take a softly-softly approach to the new regulations over face masks.
Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets becomes mandatory from Friday (24 July).
Ministers have given the police service the power to fine people if they are not wearing one.
North Yorkshire Police say they will only do this as a very last resort and will continue to “engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules”.
They expect most people will conform, as they have with previous coronavirus regulations. And officers made it clear they won’t be able to intervene in every breach.
Report breaches online
Superintendent Charlotte Bloxham, silver commander for the response to Covid-19, said: “Since the new regulations were announced, we have been liaising with local retailers to explain how we will police these new regulations.
“Demand on our service is almost back to normal pre-coronavirus levels, so we have to prioritise where we deploy our officers.
“We will take a sensible approach to enforcement and hope people understand that we cannot attend every incident. To that end, please bear this in mind before reporting anyone for not wearing a face-covering.”
She asked people to use the police’s online reporting form for any coronavirus regulations breaches – rather than tie up the phone lines.
“Please only call if a situation escalates and your safety is threatened.”
North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “Clearly, it is never going to be possible for officers to police every retailer or respond to every report of someone not wearing a mask. If you have concerns, please report them on the North Yorkshire Police website rather than calling 101.
“We need everyone to be sensible and to do their part to ensure we stop the spread of coronavirus, but also we need our emergency services to be focused on prioritising the most serious incidents to keep us safe and feeling safe.