Face mask rules: Which supermarkets have banned shoppers who refuse to wear face masks?
Willenhall: Morrisons security guard clashes with customer
Top supermarket Morrison’s is leading the charge against those who refuse to wear a face mask in store as Covid rates rise rapidly. From Monday, all those who want to shop at Morrison’s will have to wear a face mask unless they can prove they are medically exempt from wearing one.
Retail staff have spoken out repeatedly about facing customers who refuse to follow the rules, which have been in place since July of 2020.
Earlier on Monday, the shopworkers’ union Usdaw said they had been “inundated” with complaints from its members, who have been concerned with how many customers feel like they can flout the rules.
Data from Public Health England last week found 11 outbreaks of Covid-19 had come from food outlets.
Big chains such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have committed to safety remaining their “highest priority” and that customers were given regular reminders to follow the rules.
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The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents more than 170 major retailers including the big supermarket groups, has called for the police to do more after interventions by staff led to a sharp rise in incidents of abuse.
Andrew Opie, the BRC’s director of food & sustainability said: “While enforcement of face coverings is the responsibility of the police, retailers continue to do what they can to encourage their use throughout stores.
“Sadly, this has led to a sharp rise in incidents of violence and abuse against shop workers, which is why it is essential police support the work being done by retailers.”
“Supermarkets continue to follow all safety guidance and customers should be reassured that supermarkets are Covid-secure and safe to visit during lockdown and beyond.”
The change comes after concern was raised after Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed the Government is “concerned” shops are not enforcing rules strictly enough.
Mr Zahawi said: “Ultimately, the most important thing to do now is to make sure that actually enforcement – and of course the compliance with the rules – when people are going into supermarkets are being adhered to.
“We need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way system.”
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Retail staff are working with the public every day and not only suffer increased abuse, but are deeply worried about catching Covid-19.
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“Where safety measures are agreed, retailers need to make sure that they are being followed consistently, in every store.
“Supermarket workers and delivery drivers have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials.
“These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”
Which supermarkets have banned shoppers who refuse to wear face masks?
Morrison’s is currently the only supermarket imposing a strict ban on shoppers not wearing face coverings.
Morrisons Chief Executive David Potts said: “Those who are offered a face covering and decline to wear one won’t be allowed to shop at Morrisons unless they are medically exempt.
“Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind.”
Sainsbury’s is also set to order security guards to enforce mask laws and make sure people are not shopping in groups.
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