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Face mask rules in supermarkets ahead of ‘Freedom Day’

This week, Boris Johnson confirmed that the majority of lockdown regulations will be lifted in England from Monday (19 July).

This means we are no longer legally required to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport.

However, the government still  “expect” and “recommend” people to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces.

Some businesses can also ask customers to wear the mask while shopping with them.

The confusing guidance and has been criticised by some officials.

Paddy Lillis, the general secretary of the shop union Usdaw, said: “We are very disappointed that the Government has not consulted broadly with unions and employers on this guidance.

“So what they have now published, just a few days before it comes into force, provides no assurances for staff or employers. It is a real mess.

“Protection for retail workers through wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing in busy public areas like shops should be backed up by the law.”

Supermarkets in the country have introduced their own guidelines about face coverings- here are all the updates we have from them so far:

Sainsbury’s  

Sainsbury’s said it would encourage customers to continue wearing masks in its supermarkets, with the workplace guidance on masks stating it does not just apply to staff.

“Face coverings are no longer required by law,” it adds.

“However, the Government expects and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”

Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s Chief Executive, said: “As we respond to the recent change in government guidance, we know that safety is still top of mind for many of our colleagues and customers.

“Our colleagues’ safety is vital and many of our colleagues would feel more comfortable if those who can wear face coverings continue to wear them.

“We’ve listened closely to our customers too and they are telling us the same. We’re asking everyone to be considerate and, while we understand wearing a face covering will now be a personal choice, we want to ensure we best support and protect each other in the weeks and months ahead.”

Tesco

Tesco said they will be ecnouraging customers to wear face coverings in store. 

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.”

Morrisons and Aldi

The PA news agency understands that supermarket chains Morrisons and Aldi are among retailers requesting more detailed guidance soon.

They are yet to publically release any updates about mask and face coverings from Monday.

Asda

This supermarket is yet to release any updated rules.

Their current face mask policy is: “Customers can enter Asda stores without a face covering if they have a medical condition or invisible disability that prevents them from wearing a covering.

“Following Government guidance, all Asda store colleagues will now wear a covering while at work unless they have a medical exemption.

“Asda has always encouraged its colleagues to wear a covering by offering them a choice of disposable and reusable coverings and visors.

“Colleagues not wearing face coverings due to medical reason will be wearing a badge to help our customers feel reassured.”

Lidl and Iceland

Both supermarkets are yet to announce any updated rules around mask wearing from Monday.

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