Supermarkets to ban shoppers who refuse to wear face masks under strict new lockdown rules
12 January 2021, 10:17 | Updated: 12 January 2021, 10:21
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons will enforce mask-wearing in their supermarkets unless customers are exempt.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the UK, Morrisons has now said it will bar customers who refuse to wear face masks from its stores.
As of Monday, shoppers who refuse to wear face coverings offered by staff will not be allowed inside, unless they are medically exempt.
Morrisons' chief executive, David Potts, 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."
Sainsbury’s has also confirmed it will be using security guards at the front of shops to ‘challenge’ any customers not wearing a mask or those who are shopping in groups.
Chief executive of the supermarket giant, Simon Roberts 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.”
Tesco has said it would still be enforcing social distancing practices in store and has significantly reduced the number of customers allowed into stores at any one time.
The announcements come as experts have raised concerns over coronavirus spreading in supermarkets.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government is ‘concerned’ shops are not being strict enough.
He told Sky News: "Ultimately, the most important thing to do now is to make sure that actually enforcement - and of course the compliance with the rules - when people are going into supermarkets are being adhered to.”
"We need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way system.”
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 a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability
Where wearing a face covering will cause you severe distress
If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
Police officers and other emergency workers if it interferes with their ability to work