Brent Council said it cannot force people to wear masks in shops following concerns around people ignoring heath guidance in busy town centres.

It said it has “limited powers” when it comes to enforcing rules associated with Covid-19 and has focused on offering “advice” to residents and businesses on how to stay safe.

Luke Toms, of Harlesden, questioned the council’s approach on social media, suggesting “Covid inspectors” should be doing more.

He pointed out that mask usage is “low” in Harlesden town centre, while many independent shops are “not following” the guidelines put forward by the Government.

Others described High Street, Harlesden and High Road, Kilburn as “busier than Oxford Street” and said it was as if “Covid doesn’t exist” in these areas.

This is despite Brent being one of the worst affected areas in the country, with Harlesden hit particularly hard.

And it comes after Brent Council leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, issued a plea to residents urging them to be vigilant following a rise in coronavirus cases in the borough.

He explained that the area could be put into a second lockdown if trends do not reverse.

“I know we all want to get back to doing the things we love. However, we cannot do that if cases continue to rise,” he said.

“Let’s not throw away the hard work and sacrifices made by so many of our friends, neighbours and loved ones during lockdown.”