NEW Covid guidelines and restrictions have come into force from 4:00am today.

These rules once again mandate the wearing of face masks in shops and on public transport in an effort to halt the spread of Covid-19 following the new Omicron variant which saw confirmed cases in the UK recently.

Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, said to put it into perspective: "We’re already in a stronger position than we were when we faced the Delta variant.

"We have a much greater capacity for testing, an enhanced ability for sequencing and the collective protection that’s offered by 114 million jabs in arms and so I would like to update the House on our vaccination programme as well.

"Our COVID-19 vaccination programme has been a national success story."

While these restrictions are put in place to protect people and save lives, they also have the potential to hurt business, as fewer people may want to come out and go into shops if they need to wear a mask.

Despite this, some businesses in and around Cumbria have reacted positively to the new rules.

Will Smillie, Managing Director of Border Embroideries, a uniform shop, said on compulsory mask wearing: "I think it's a good thing to be honest.

"If we can keep things at bay a bit longer then we can stay open longer.

"We don't ever want to go back to a lockdown again.

"To be honest, we are predominantly a Scottish business and it has always been like that in Scotland.

"From our point of view, it is only Carlisle and Newcastle that would [see a big change]."

On people who come into contact with someone who has the Omicron variant and concerns of a return to 'pingdemic', he said: " It does [concern me] to an extent.

"I wouldn't want to start losing staff again left right and centre like what we were.

"We are luckily not at our busiest at the minute anyway, so it [wouldn't] really affect us.

"If the vaccinations aren't really doing much about it then it is probably the right thing to do overall."

Kathryn Hogarth, who owns beauty salon Bellisima Beauty in Carlisle, said that the worries of mask wearing hurting trade, especially that of a beauty salon that requires physical contact, so not concern her.

She said: "I've never dropped the mask rule at mine because I have such a small space.

"My clients also wear their masks still."