Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Supermarket face mask rules for Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi and M&S
15 July 2021, 12:38 | Updated: 29 November 2021, 19:24
Boris Johnson has announced that masks will no longer be a legal requirement in England from 19 July, but government guidance still urges supermarkets to ask customers and staff to wear them in their stores.
This article is now out of date - please refer to this article for the latest rules.
As part of the 'Freedom Day' relaxation of lockdown almost all legal requirements will be dropped in England, with people allowed "to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus".
The legal obligation to wear a face mask will end, however government guidance released ahead of the unlocking has said they "expect and recommend" masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces.
While local authorities and the government's Health and Safety Executive can still carry out compliance checks on the guidelines, it will largely be down to individual businesses to decide what they think is the most appropriate.
So what will the rules be at the main English supermarkets from 19 July?
Sainsbury's say from 19 July customers and staff will be urged to wear a face covering, with "new signs and tannoy messages" in their stores.
They said while screens between self-service checkouts and dividing checkout queues will be gradually removed from stores in England, they will remain in place between staff and customers when they are being served at checkouts.
Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “As we respond to the recent change in government guidance, we know that safety is still top of mind for many of our colleagues and customers.
"Our colleagues’ safety is vital and many of our colleagues would feel more comfortable if those who can wear face coverings continue to wear them.
"We’ve listened closely to our customers too and they are telling us the same. We’re asking everyone to be considerate and, while we understand wearing a face covering will now be a personal choice, we want to ensure we best support and protect each other in the weeks and months ahead.”
Tesco have announced that after 19 July "to be on the safe side" both customers and staff will be "encouraged" to wear face coverings whilst at the supermarket.
A spokesperson for the supermarket added: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring 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."
Waitrose are urging people to continue to wear face masks unless exempt after 19 July.
However, a spokesperson added: "The decision over whether to do so or not, when in our shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgement."
They added: "In Scotland and Wales we continue to follow legislation which requires our customers and Partners to continue to wear masks, unless exempt. We will continue to follow relevant guidance in Jersey and Guernsey.
"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."
Asda are also encouraging people to wear masks and say they will provide face coverings at the front of their stores for those without one.
A spokesperson for Asda said: “We encourage customers to be respectful to each other and to follow the government guidance on face coverings when shopping in our stores after 19th July.”
Lidl say they will follow the newly released government guidance "as we enter this next phase over the summer".
"Although no longer legally required, the government recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded or indoor spaces and we will have signage in place at store entrances reminding our customers of this," a spokesperson said.
"In line with guidance released in Scotland and Wales, the wearing of face coverings will remain mandatory in all of our Scottish and Welsh stores.
"The Perspex screens at checkouts and hand sanitising stations will also remain in place across all our stores for the time being as we gradually enter this next phase."
Aldi also say in England they will "encourage customers and colleagues to wear face coverings when they're in store".
Like others, their Welsh and Scottish stores will require all customers and staff to wear face coverings in line with the laws there.
"Other measures like hand sanitiser and screens will also stay in place," a spokesperson said.
Morrisons said they will be following the government guidance encouraging people to wear masks in crowded areas.
A spokesperson said: "We will encourage all customers and colleagues to follow this guidance in store, to maintain social distancing and to exercise their own judgement.
"We will also continue to offer a free face covering to any customer or colleague who may have forgotten theirs.
"Our protective screens and sanitising stations will remain in place in all our stores and will be cleaned and replenished regularly."
LBC has contacted M&S to ask what their face mask policy will be from Monday 19 July.
Currently all customers are required to wear a face covering unless they are exempt.