London Covid: Waitrose, The Range, Wilko, B&M latest rules on wearing face masks in stores – My London



Waitrose is the latest store to take a tougher stance on customers who refuse to wear a face-covering without a medical exemption and have urged shoppers to be respectful towards staff.

It came as a police chief said officers would be on standby to help dissenters who become “aggressive” in supermarkets.

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The news follows Tuesday’s announcement (January 12) that Tesco would not let customers who are not wearing a face-covering into its stores unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance.

Waitrose follows suit with marshals at entrances to offer disposable masks and deny entry to anyone refusing to comply.

The company has also suspended click-and-collect services based within John Lewis department stores to avoid non-essential travel.

In contrast, in-home services will be carried out only if “essential” to customers’ wellbeing.

Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations at Waitrose parent company, the John Lewis Partnership, said: “By insisting on the wearing of face coverings, over and above the social distancing measures we already have in place, we aim to make our shops even safer for customers.”

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said he believes all supermarkets should follow in Waitrose’s footsteps, suggesting some stores have become lax with safety measures.

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Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “I think that, understandably, following the November lockdown there was an element of release and therefore the person at the door, the sanitation station, the traffic light system, the queues outside obviously receded a bit.

“What we hope now, and I know all of them will, that they’ll see their responsibility and start to put those things back in place.”

Asked whether police should intervene, he said some officers had issued fines in retail settings, adding: “What we hope is the vast majority of people, or everybody, will be encouraged to do so by the shop owner.”

Wilko has a taken a softer stance, and a spokesperson for the store said: “We’re encouraging customers to wear face coverings but do recognise that there are exceptions when it might not be appropriate to do so.”

Both B&M and The Range have made face coverings mandatory in-store unless you have an exemption.

However, neither store has said it would challenge customers if they wore a face-covering in-store.

Do you think supermarkets should refuse entry to people who don’t wear a mask without a medical exemption? Let us know in the comments below.