Major UK supermarkets have taken the major step to enforce face mask rulings across their stores.
Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose have announced that they will deny entry to any shoppers who refuse to wear face masks, unless they can prove that they are medically exempt. Sainsbury’s are expected to follow with a similar announcement imminently.
National retailers have been heavily criticised since the outbreak for not enforcing the mask ruling, but with the surge in infection rates over the last few weeks, the announcement has been positively greeted by shoppers and government officials. Supermarkets have the right to deny entry for not wearing a face mask, however, enforcement of face coverings is still a police matter.
Andrew Murphy, Executive Director of Operations at Waitrose, said: “We’ve listened carefully to the clear change in tone and emphasis of the views and information shared by the UK’s governments in recent days. By insisting on the wearing of face coverings, over and above the social distancing measures we already have in place, we aim to make our shops even safer for customers.”
A statement from Tesco read: “To protect our customers and colleagues, we won’t let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with government guidance. We are also asking our customers to shop alone, unless they’re a carer or with children. To support our colleagues, we will have additional security in stores to help manage this.”
A similar announcement from Asda stated: “Should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so, our security colleagues will refuse their entry.”