James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
All major supermarkets in England tell customers to wear face masks
15 July 2021, 16:31
All major supermarkets in England have asked shoppers and staff to continue wearing face masks in store, despite the lifting of restrictions.
Chains in England - including Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Aldi, Waitrose and Lidl - urged customers to continue using face coverings to be on the safe side moving forward.
Several of them also revealed that protective screens between staff and customers at checkouts would remain for the time being.
This comes after Boris Johnson announced that the legal requirement to wear face coverings would no longer apply after 'Freedom Day' on 19 July.
From Monday, the public will take on the responsibility "to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus".
That said, guidelines have been put in place by the government to ensure people move forward cautiously into the final stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.
They said they "expect and recommend" masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces.
As for Scotland and Wales, face masks still need to be worn indoors, so stores have said they will maintain rules in those countries.
Tesco said their focus was to ensure "everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment".
"Having listened to our customers and colleagues, we will continue to have safety measures in place in our stores; these include limiting the number of people in store at any time, protective screens at every checkout, hand sanitiser stations and regular cleaning," they said.
"We're asking our customers and colleagues to be on the safe side, and so from July 19 we'll be encouraging our colleagues to wear face coverings whilst they work and encouraging our customers to do the same when they shop with us."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the John Lewis Partnership, the parent company of Waitrose and John Lewis, said: "In line with government guidance, we will recommend that our customers and partners in England continue to wear a face covering, unless exempt, from July 19.
"The decision over whether to do so or not, when in our shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgment.
"Across all of our stores we will be retaining perspex screens and hand sanitising stations.
"We will also maintain all of the hand hygiene and store cleaning disciplines which have served us well since the start of the pandemic."