Iceland says it won't 'police' face mask wearing despite Boris's mandate

29 November 2021, 20:41 | Updated: 4 January 2022, 12:36

Iceland's boss says they won't 'police' face masks
Iceland's boss says they won't 'police' face masks. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Iceland has said it will not enforce mask wearing in its stores despite the Government saying they will be compulsory in shops and public transport from Tuesday.

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Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said the supermarket chain's workers would not be asked "to police" whether or not customers were complying with the new rules.

He told the Daily Mail: "We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops, however, we won't be asking our store colleagues to police it.

EXPLAINED: Omicron rules: Where to wear face masks and who has to self-isolate

READ MORE: Covid-19 booster jabs: Who is eligible and how can you book?

"Our store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown heroic efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it's crucial that we stay focused on the long-term recovery of the high street.

"We need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable, and I'm hopeful that the latest guidelines won't discourage customers from doing so."

Health Secretary Sajid Javid is introducing a raft of precautionary measures to tackle the concerning Omicron variant of Covid-19.

You'd think there would be bigger alarm bells than a mask mandate

In addition to masks, passengers arriving in the UK have been told that from 4am on Tuesday they will have to take a PCR test for Covid, with the expectation they will have to self-isolate until they test negative.

All contacts with a suspected case of Omicron will have to isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status, amid concerns that existing jabs will be less effective against the strain, which is believed to spread rapidly.

Mr Javid also confirmed today that all people aged 18 and over are to be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccine, while teenagers aged between 12 and 15 will also be offered a second jab.

He failed to rule out any future lockdowns, but insisted putting the "booster programme on steroids" is the main form of defence against Covid.

Virologist: Omicron is 'a wake-up call'

He told MPs the new variant "may have given the virus extra legs" in the race between the disease and vaccines.

MPs are also due to debate and vote on new Covid restrictions in England on Tuesday - hours after they have come into force.

Mr Javid told the Commons: "If it emerges that this variant is no more dangerous than the Delta variant, then we won't keep measures in place for a day longer than necessary."

He said he is "confident" the responses he has set out are "balanced and responsible steps that are proportionate to the threat that we face".

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