Supermarkets and mask rules: Which stores still require face coverings?

Supermarkets and mask rules: Which stores still require face coverings?
Sainsburys, Tesco and Waterstones still keeping Covid rules in force

People in England are no longer legally obliged to wear face coverings in public places for the first time since June 2020.

Last week, Boris Johnson announced that the mandate for face coverings would soon be removed but said people “might choose” to continue wearing them in areas where cases are rising and in enclosed spaces, such as public transport at peak hours.

Additionally, despite the changing legalities, new guidance has been issued by the government telling the public they are “expected” to wear face coverings in indoor enclosed places.

Several major companies, such as TFL and Waterstones announced last week that they will still be asking customers to continue wearing face coverings.

Here are all the companies we know about so far.

Waterstones

Last Tuesday, the book shop chain announced it would still be observing government guidance on coronavirus after Monday 19 July.

“Given our enclosed browsing environment, we encourage our customers to wear face masks and observe social distancing, respecting the safety of staff and fellow book lovers,” the company tweeted.

Center Parcs

Martin Dalby, chief executive of Center Parcs, has said that masks would still be encouraged for staff and customers in the indoor sections of its holiday parks from Monday.

“The approach from Center Parcs will be to recommend that both our employees and our customers do wear face coverings when in indoor settings – that’s the advice we’re going to give them,” he said. However, he added: “It’s not mandatory and we won’t be policing it.”’

City Pub Group

The City Pub Group has said it will continue to encourage people to wear masks in its 45 pubs across the south of England and Wales.

“We don’t want a free-for-all scrum at the bar, loads of people queuing up,” chief executive, Clive Watson, told the BBC.

Transport for London (TFL) services

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that he had asked TFL to enforce the use of masks on public transport after restrictions lift on 19 July.

Mr Khan said he was “not prepared” to put tube, tram and other transport users in the capital “at risk” by removing the rules on face coverings after so-called Freedom Day.

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s has said that it will be keeping several of the current Covid measures after 19 July.

The supermarket will encourage customers to continue to wear a face covering, if they can, while staff will also be encouraged to wear a mask, with the exception of those who are working from behind a screen at a checkout till.

Aldi

An Aldi spokesperson confirmed that they will also be encouraging customers and colleagues to wear face coverings when in store from Monday 19 July.

“Other measures like hand sanitiser and screens will also stay in place. Face masks are still required for customers and colleagues in our Welsh and Scottish stores, in line with the latest guidance,” they said.

Tesco

Tesco will be encouraging colleagues and customers to wear face masks after 19 July.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment. Having listened to our customers and colleagues, we will continue to have safety measures in place in our stores; these include limiting the number of people in store at any time, protective screens at every checkout, hand sanitiser stations and regular cleaning.

We’re asking our customers and colleagues to be on the safe side, and so from 19 July we’ll be encouraging our colleagues to wear face coverings whilst they work and encouraging our customers to do the same when they shop with us.”

Co-op

Co-op has taken a more relaxed approach, stating that customers can “feel free” to wear a face covering if they choose, and they will support colleagues who choose to wear one as well.

A spokesperson said: “Our priority is to provide a safe shopping and working environment for our customers and colleagues and we will continue to follow official guidelines from the UK Government and Governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“In England, from the 19 July when restrictions are eased, we will support customers and colleagues who choose to wear a face covering for the protection of others and encourage all shoppers to be respectful of people’s personal space when in the store. Perspex screens at till points and store entrance sanitising cleaning stations will remain in place at all of our stores.”

Waitrose

A spokesman for the John Lewis Partnership, which also manages Waitrose, said: “In line with government guidance, we will recommend that our customers and partners in England continue to wear a face covering, unless exempt, from 19 July.

“The decision over whether to do so or not, when in our shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgment.

“Across all of our stores we will be retaining perspex screens and hand sanitising stations.

“We will also maintain all of the hand hygiene and store cleaning disciplines which have served us well since the start of the pandemic.”

Morrisons

Morrisons has said it will continue to offer free face masks in its stores and encourage all customers and staff to “follow this guidance in store, to maintain social distancing and to exercise their own judgment”.

What have other supermarkets said?

Iceland

Iceland has not yet announced its policy.

An Iceland spokesperson said: “We are currently reviewing our policies in line with the latest updates from the Government on the easing of restrictions, and will continue to do so as further updates are provided. The safety of our customers and colleagues will continue to be our priority as restrictions are eased and we will update on any changes as we are able to do so.”

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