SUPERMARKETS including Tesco, Aldi, Morrisons and Sainsbury's, have said they will ban customers from entering shops without a face mask.
Retailers have tightened restrictions for shoppers over fears supermarkets are hotbeds for spreading the deadly coronavirus.
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While official legislation hasn't changed, many retailers have said they will take more care to enforce the rules.
Since July, anyone entering a shop must cover their nose and mouth, unless you are medically exempt.
This includes if you have a physical or mental illness that stops you from wearing one.
Children under the age of 11 also don’t have to wear a face mask.
Who is exempt from wearing a face mask?
THE following groups of people don’t need to wear a face mask when in a public place:
- Children under the age of 11
- People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability
- Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- Police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
As part of government guidelines, you can be fined £200 for disobeying the rules – again, unless you are exempt.
Fines double each time someone is found in breach of the rules, up until a maximum of £6,400.
Here, we explain the rules on face masks at different supermarkets:
Aldi has toughened its position on customers wearing face masks and has said it will stop customers from entering stores without one, unless they are exempt.
The supermarket will provide a free one to customers who forget to bring theirs. Those who refuse will not be allowed in the shop.
The retailer will also be reminding customers to shop alone to reduce the number of people in stores.
Giles Hurley, chief executive officer at Aldi UK said: "The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority.
"Wearing a mask is mandatory for everyone that shops at Aldi, except for the small number of people who have a medical exemption."
Asda introduced a policy in July that allows staff to refuse entry to customers who do no cover their nose and mouth while shopping.
In September, the supermarket stationed 1,000 Covid safety marshals by the entrances to stores to remind customers to wear a face covering.
Customers who forget to bring one are offered a free one so they can continue to shop.
Only those who are medically exempt from wearing a face covering will be allowed to shop without one.
An Asda spokesperson told The Sun: "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."
The Co-op is yet to announce whether it will be updating its policy on face coverings for its 4,000 stores across the UK.
It has previously said that it will not be enforcing the rules and that it is customers' responsibility to follow the legislation.
Where do I have to wear a mask?
IF you’re not exempt, you must wear a face covering in the following settings in England:
- Public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
- Taxis and private hire vehicles
- Transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
- Shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
- Shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
- Auction houses
- Hospitality settings (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink
- Post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
- Estate and lettings agents
- Personal care and beauty settings (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
- Visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
- Libraries and public reading rooms
- Places of worship
- Funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
- Community centres, youth centres and social clubs
- Exhibition halls and conference centres
- Public areas in hotels and hostels
- Storage and distribution facilities
The retailer added that it has seen a sharp rise in abuse, threats and even assaults on shop workers and it believes that asking staff to enforce the latest rules will put them at risk.
Instead, it has put up signs around the store reminding them to do so.
Iceland has said it will not be forcing customers to wear masks while grocery shopping to protect staff from a "rising tide of abuse".
It added that larger stores already had security guards at entrances and smaller branches are ready to station staff at the doors if necessary.
A spokesperson said: "In view of the rising tide of abuse and violence directed at our store colleagues, we do not expect them to confront the small minority of customers who aggressively refuse to comply with the law."
Lidl has said it won't be banning customers from entering stores if they don't wear a face mask as it is "their own responsibility to keep themselves and others safe".
But the retailer added it will be stationing security guards at entrances to remind shoppers to cover their nose and mouth while in stores.
They will also help control the number of customers allowed in stores at the same time.
Marks & Spencer
M&S is yet to update its policy on customers wearing face masks.
But since July, it has stationed a member of staff at the doors of the shop to politely remind shoppers they should be wearing one if they can.
There are 1,035 M&S stores in the UK and you can use the locator tool to find your nearest branch.
Morrisons was the first this week to announce a tightening of the rules regarding face masks in stores.
The supermarket will ban anyone without a mask from entering its shops unless they are medically exempt.
Customers without one will be offered a free face covering by staff so they can continue to pick up groceries.
Those who refuse will not be allowed to shop.
Morrisons chief executive, David Potts added: "Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind."
Sainsbury's is enforcing stricter policies over face masks during England's third national lockdown.
The retailer has hired security guards to bar shoppers who refuse to wear a face covering, unless medically exempt.
They will also stop groups from shopping together.
The retailer has also significantly reduced the number of customers allowed in store at any one time, although limits vary depending on the size of the branch.
Sainsbury's boss Simon Roberts said: "The vast majority of customers are shopping safely, but I have also seen some customers trying to shop without a mask and shopping in larger family groups.
"Please help us to keep all our colleagues and customers safe by always wearing a mask and by shopping alone. Everyone’s care and consideration matters now more than ever."
Tesco will stop customers without a face mask from entering stores unless they are medically exempt.
It is also urging customers to shop alone – groups and couples from the same household typically won't be allowed in branches together.
A Tesco spokesperson said: "Our colleagues are working hard in difficult circumstances to make sure everyone can get what they need, and we’d ask everyone to please be kind, patient and respectful as we all work to keep each other safe."
Waitrose has announced a ban on customers entering shops without a face mask, unless they can't for medical reasons.
Over the coming days marshals will be positioned at the entrances of all Waitrose stores to ensure all shoppers are wearing a face mask,
Shoppers without one will be offered a disposable mask so they can continue to shop.
Those who refuse to wear one will be stopped from entering the store.
The marshals will also be encouraging customers to shop alone and groups will not be allowed in together.
Staff will also have to wear a mask at work even if they are sat behind protective perspex screens.
Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations said: "While we recognise that the detail of formal guidance has not changed, we feel it is right for us – and in the best interests of our Partners and customers – to take proactive steps to further enhance our Covid-security and related operational policies."
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