Sainsbury's, Tesco and Lidl explain why they won't challenge shoppers without a face mask

23 July 2020, 08:23 | Updated: 23 July 2020, 12:32

Some supermarkets won't challenge those not wearing face masks
Some supermarkets won't challenge those not wearing face masks. Picture: Getty Images/PA Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

UK supermarkets have revealed they won't refuse shoppers entry without a face mask under the new rules.

New rules will come in to force on Friday (24 July) which will make it compulsory for people in England to wear face masks while in supermarkets and high street stores.

But now bosses at Sainsbury's have explained why they won’t challenge shoppers who enter its shops without a face covering over the next few months.

In a Tweet to their followers, the supermarket giant said customers won't be questioned as they could have a hidden disability.

Replying to one follower who questioned whether staff would be enforcing the rules, they said: "We won’t be challenging customers without a mask when they enter or when they are in store since they may have a reason not to wear a mask."

Government guidance states that you don’t have to wear a face covering if you have 'any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability', and would experience 'severe distress' from doing so.

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This includes if you're with someone who requires lip-reading, if you suffer from severe distress when you put it on or suffer from a disability where you're unable to put it on.

Children under 11 are also exempt, as well as those who suffer from autism.

Elsewhere, Tesco also took to Twitter to update shoppers that they would not be refusing anyone entry.

They stated: "Our colleagues shouldn't be challenging or refuse entry to customers visiting our stores without a facemask."

Lidl have also said they won't challenge customers if they don't wear a face mask.

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The chain confirmed this via their Lidl account, Tweeting: "Wearing a face covering is the responsibility of the individual and should only be enforced by Police and council enforcement officers."

"The government have stipulated that shop workers should not refuse entry to customers that are not wearing a face covering."

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Rival supermarket Aldi said shoppers will be asked to put on their masks, but added that customers shouldn’t judge others if they are not wearing one.

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Under the new guidance, police will have the power to fine those who don’t comply with the new guidance, with those in England risking a whopping £100.

Retailers will also be able to refuse entry to those who refuse to follow the rules.

However, shop bosses have warned staff not to put themselves in danger if customers refuse to comply.

The Association of Convenience Stores released a statement which said: “We have advised members not to challenge customers unwilling to wear a covering.”

Face masks have been compulsory in shops in Scotland since July 10.

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