The news that the Government has tightened its face mask guidelines will be inconsequential to some, but to others it has only inflated an existing phobia.
From July 24, it will be compulsory to wear a mask in shops. As Hilary Freeman explained in a Telegraph article, for those who have a fear of face masks, it's a frightening prospect.
The new guidelines pose a number of issues for Britons who may be exempt from wearing a mask on medical grounds. How does one explain to strangers that they are exempt without receiving a scornful expression in response?
We’ve heard from a number of readers, who struggle to wear a mask on a regular basis and are fearful ahead of the latest changes.
See what your fellow readers have had to say below and then share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
'I woke up in a panic last night'
"I can't stand them. They've been mandatory in shops here for weeks, so I don't go shopping. I certainly don't do recreational retail shopping, just popping in to see what's in stock – and I used to do that. I refuse to enter the shopping mall. Masked shopping isn't fun.
"My husband and I booked a trip to Montana for the beginning of August – we were supposed to fly to Switzerland today, but as US citizens that's now impossible. Montana seemed like the next best thing, and a free state to boot. But I just got word that the small town of Whitefish has implemented a mask requirement for all public places. Glacier National Park is slammed with tourists in its open western half – trails are crowded, and there will be pressure to mask. I'm not sure I want to go at all now. A masked holiday is not my idea of fun.
"I actually woke up last night in a panic at the thought that my town might institute a similar all-encompassing mask ordinance, that would include sidewalks. One of my pleasures is walking downtown to eat (not shop) and I just can't see myself doing that with a mask on. Or god forbid, going for my daily run or my afternoon walk with my husband – we have to be able to breathe and talk, and it's 93 degrees here."
'My wife can't even bear to have a scarf across her mouth'
"My wife also suffers from this, she can't even bear to have a scarf across her mouth, never mind her mouth and nose.
"She has bought a visor – you can get them made in the UK, although you have to hunt them out as most are made in China. It stands a bit away from the face, so doesn't cause the same feelings of restriction, and you can see through it, so people can lip-read and see your facial expressions.
"It has to be cleaned inside and out after each wearing, but that's a simple job which becomes routine to do as with hand-washing, the moment you return from a trip.
"It has the advantage that you can't easily take it on and off, as I see people doing all the time with masks - even pulling them down to talk to someone, then back up when going into the street!
"Not sure if they work with glasses though – do the glasses steam up?"
'Wearing a mask was pretty unpleasant'
"I did my first food shop today with a mask on. It is compulsory now in Scotland.
"Ordinarily I may have visited some other shops in town. Not today! Wearing a mask was pretty unpleasant!
"Sadly Amazon wins, I have just placed an order for a few things I would normally buy in town but really could not be bothered with the mask thing and sanitising my hands again. Sorry Superdrug, sorry B&M bargains, it's not your fault but it's your loss today."
'I am worried people will judge anyway'
"I have severe asthma and struggle to breathe with a mask. I have tried wearing it around the house but I just got too breathless. Also, I do feel claustrophobic wearing one.
"I got one for my autistic daughter but my autistic son doesn't mind wearing a mask. We are all different.
"There should be no shame in admitting that you can't cope with a mask. I am just worried that people will judge anyway."
'I've had several panic attacks wearing a mask'
"I've always struggled to wear items on my face, including crash helmets, snorkels and blindfolds. I'm agoraphobic rather than claustrophobic.
"Working in a hospital the only way I've been able to cope is to wear masks that are as loose as possible, which probably renders them utterly useless, and it's still not a perfect solution.
"I've had several panic attacks wearing a mask."
'A face mask that interferes with unimpeded breathing makes me feel disorientated'
"I think masks are an affront for several good non-health related reasons. But I'm also claustrophobic so I have long avoided, where possible, travel on crowded public transport in London.
"A face mask that interferes with unimpeded breathing increases my heart rate and makes me feel disorientated, not a good thing when travelling on an escalator."
'I fear this policy will kill the high street stone dead'
"I sympathise with the author and echo her feeling that shopping for pleasure will be a thing of the past.
"I fear this policy will kill the high street stone dead just as it was coming off life support."
'If you don't want to wear a mask you can get your shopping delivered'
"If you don’t want to wear a mask you can get your shopping delivered like all the people who are shielding because they are old or vulnerable. Most of us would not want to have to be put on a ventilator!
"The countries where masks have been worn are the ones managing to control the virus."
'People might be afraid of standing out or getting hassle without a mask'
"Some of the commentary here and on from the BBC is frankly a bit irresponsible, suggesting that for everyone there is a stark choice between wearing a mask or not visiting shops.
"There are exemptions on public transport. In Scotland, the same exemptions apply in shops. The writer's description of her plight suggests she falls within one. There is definitely one for those accompanying a lip reader.
"I sympathise that some people might be afraid of standing out or getting hassle without one. But it is an option."
'I don't see why other people should demand that I wear one'
"If other people want to wear a face mask, why shouldn't they? I don't have a problem with that.
"But I don't see why other people should demand that I wear one, when they don't know anything about my health or my personal situation."
Now it's your turn. Are you worried about being judged for not wearing a face mask? Share your experience in the comments section below.