Sainsbury's asks shoppers to continue wearing masks despite end of Plan B rules

26 January 2022, 15:34 | Updated: 26 January 2022, 23:35

Some supermarkets will continue asking their customers to wear face masks
Some supermarkets will continue asking their customers to wear face masks. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Sainsbury's is among supermarkets that will continue asking customers to wear masks, despite Plan B restrictions in England coming to an end.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The rules currently in place in England require face coverings to be worn in shops - including supermarkets.

Tomorrow the mask mandate will be scrapped as the country moves from Plan B to Plan A - but so far both Sainsbury's and Waitrose have announced that customers will still be asked to wear them.

Read more: Scotland to relax strict work from home guidance from Monday

Read more: Tourism 'will be back to pre-pandemic levels by summer's end' predicts Easyjet CEO

Sainsbury's said customer safety was its "priority" and that it would ask customers and staff in England to wear masks "if they are able to".

The supermarket added that other safety measures - such as screens and sanitising stations - would remain in place for now, and said masks wound continue to be required in Scotland and Wales in line with government restrictions.

Co-op and Morrisons are also encouraging face masks, with a Co-op spokesperson saying: "Our priority throughout the pandemic has been to provide a safe shopping and working environment and we will continue to support and encourage the wearing of face coverings."

John Lewis issued a softer instruction, saying wearing masks in Waitrose would be a "suggestion" but it will be a "personal choice" for individuals.

M&S and Lidl said they would follow the advice of the British Retail Consortium, which said the scrapping of Plan B measures would "enable shopping to return to more normal experience" but that customers must be "considerate" to others.

Other major supermarkets have not yet said what their guidance will be after Plan B measures come to an end.

When the Government's mask mandate was axed in July 2021, a number of supermarkets continued to recommend their customers wear face coverings when in their shops.

Watch: Caller's mother 'locked away' for 90th birthday – during PM's party

Read more: 'Hallelujah': New Asda Chairman Lord Rose hails WFH end and says 'forget about Covid'

Along with Sainsbury's and Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and Aldi continued asking people to wear masks in their stores.

Lidl and Morrisons stuck to the Government guidance, which encouraged mask-wearing in crowded places.

LBC has contacted England's other main supermarket chains to ask what their rules will be.

Elsewhere, face masks will continue to be required on Transport for London (TfL) networks including the Tube, buses, Overground and DLR.

Face coverings will be a condition of carriage - meaning you could be turned away if you are not wearing one, but the removal of the legal requirement means the British Transport Police will not be able to fine you for it.

"If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it is that we must not get complacent and undo all our hard work and sacrifices," said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Read more: Battling Boris vows to fight on at stormy PMQs ahead of partygate report

Read more: Business leader and former Tory donor 'couldn't believe you could buy access to ministers'

That’s why face coverings will remain a condition of carriage on TfL services."

"I’m asking everyone in our capital to do the right thing and continue to wear a face covering when travelling on TfL services to keep us all protected and to prevent further restrictions from being necessary later down the line."

TfL also kept the mask mandate throughout the summer when they were not required by law.