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Sainsbury’s and Morrisons enforce mask-wearing

Supermarket giants, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, will post security guards at the entrances to their stores in order to force customers to wear a face mask.

The supermarket giants, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, confirmed that they will post security guards at the entrances to their stores in order to force customers to wear a face mask. If they refuse to do so, the security guards will “challenge” them.

Mask-wearing enforced at supermarkets

Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “I’ve spent a lot of time in our stores reviewing the latest situation over the last few days and on behalf of all my colleagues, I am asking our customers to help us keep everyone safe. 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.”

Concerns voiced by unions about worker safety caused Boris Johnson to state: “We need to enforce the rules in supermarkets. When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much.”

On Monday, Supermarket chain Morrisons announced that customers who refuse to wear a mask without a medical exemption will be kicked out of their stores.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, 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.”

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, was a fan of Morrisons strategy saying: “That’s the right approach, and I want to see all parts of society playing their part in this. Stronger enforcement is necessary, and I’m delighted that the police are stepping up their enforcement. But it isn’t just about the government and the rules we set, or the police and the work that they do. It’s about how everybody behaves.”

A senior police leader has stated that they won’t be enforcing mask-wearing in supermarkets due to resources:

“Do people want the police telling you: ‘that’s not above your nose’? There are no extra officers. Everything else [crime] is still happening. Where is the greater risk: do you put two people in a supermarket not wearing masks before a woman suffering domestic violence? You need clearer, consistent messaging, not new rules, and more enforcement.”

Shopworker’s union Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said:

“Where safety measures are agreed, retailers need to make sure that they are being followed consistently, in every store. We are also very concerned by reports that too many customers are not following necessary safety measures like social distancing, wearing a face covering and only shopping for essential items. Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”

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