Tesco and Asda become latest supermarkets to ban shoppers without face masks
Supermarket chains Tesco and Asda are following Morrisons and Sainsbury’s by banning customers who refuse to wear a face covering without a medical exemption.
Yesterday Morrisons said customers who refuse to wear a mask without a medical exemption will be told to leave stores.
Morrisons, which has a store in Wrexham, said it had “introduced and consistently maintained thorough and robust safety measures in all our stores” since the start of the pandemic.
But it said: “From today (Monday) we are further strengthening our policy on masks.”
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.”
Sainsbury’s also said it would challenge those not wearing a mask or who were shopping in groups.
Tesco, which has stores in the town and Cefn Mawr, said: “To protect our customers and colleagues, we won’t let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance.”
“We are also asking our customers to shop alone, unless they’re a carer or with children.”
“To support our colleagues, we will have additional security in stores to help manage this.”
“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.”
An Asda spokesman said if customers had forgotten their face coverings, it would continue to offer them one free of charge.
“But 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,”
First minister Mark Drakeford said last week the Welsh Government will ‘work with’ major retailers to “make sure that people are safe when we go out shopping”.
It comes amid growing calls supermarkets and stores that have remained open to tighten measures to help protect staff and shoppers.
Speaking at Friday’s Welsh Government briefing First Minister Mark Drakeford said that he had been receiving more inquiries about safety in supermarkets than “any other issue” in recent weeks.
He said: “Those inquiries are expressing anxiety on behalf of the public, that the visible protections that they could see back in March, April and May of last year don’t appear to be there this time, despite the fact that in many ways with a more aggressive strain of the virus, those protections are needed even more.
“What we are talking to the supermarkets about is a more visible set of measures. You will know that back then, if you went to a supermarket, there was always somebody at the front door. That person was carefully controlling the numbers of people going into the supermarket to make sure that we were no more than a certain number of people in the store at any one time.
“Sanitising arrangements were very visible at the front door, you were directed to where you would clean a trolley and make sure that it was safe to be used when you were in the store.
“There were one way markings very prominently displayed, there would be our tannoy announcements regularly reminding people of the way in which they needed to conduct themselves in order to keep safe.
“When you came to pay for goods at the checkout there was somebody there directing people to the checkout to make sure people weren’t queuing next to each other over prolonged periods. There were markings on the floor so people kept at a two meter distance.
“Some of that is no longer as apparent to people as it was in the early days of a pandemic.”
“I want to make sure that those visible signs of the protections that are being offered to the public and the shop workers are in place again.”
“We’ve worked very closely with supermarkets, they’ve done a remarkably good job on our behalf.
“We need to make sure that those things that give people confidence that everything is being done to keep them safe is being done in this lockdown, as they were back in March and April.”
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