While it will become mandatory for customers to wear face coverings in shops as of next week, the government has stopped short of applying the same requirement to hospitality. However, 75% of customers believe thought that it should be.
Generation Z (18-24 year olds) feel particularly strongly about this, according to the survey, with twice as many respondents of this age compared with Millennials believing that making it mandatory is necessary.
Furthermore, 41% of respondents say that guests themselves should be wearing face coverings when not eating, with over 65s the age group that most support his view. Women significantly more inclined to support face covering than men – both for staff and guests - the survey has also revealed.
The findings may be reflective of an underlying fear among consumers about the continued circulation of covid-19 in the community, according to HGEM managing director Steven Pike, says.
"The safer people feel in the first place, the more likely they are to venture out and adapt to new experiences," he says.
"It’s clear that such measures would have an impact on the guest experience, but it may be worth looking to Asia where they have been commonplace for some time. It’s been notable how the science and public opinion has shifted just in the last month.
“The results may be interesting to policy makers looking for ways to rebuild the hospitality economy, as they suggest a low cost opportunity to further boost confidence for people to return to pubs and restaurants.
"The key would be to not alienate those that expressed an opposing view.”