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Sainsbury's and Morrisons say they will refuse entry to people not wearing a mask
11 January 2021, 21:07
Morrisons and Sainsbury's have said they will refuse entry to anyone not wearing a mask unless they are medically exempt.
Shoppers who refuse to wear a mask offered by staff will not be allowed inside unless they are exempt.
Morrisons has confirmed customers who refuse to wear a mask without a medical exemption will be told to leave stores.
Security guards will be enforcing the new rules at the doors of stores.
Chief executive David Potts said: "Those who are offered a face covering and decline to wear one won't be allowed to shop at Morrisons unless they are medically exempt. Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind."
Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind."
Sainsbury's also said it was putting trained security guards at the front of stores to challenge people without masks.
Chief executive Simon Roberts said: "I've spent a lot of time in our stores reviewing the latest situation over the last few days and on behalf of all my colleagues, I am asking our customers to help us keep everyone safe.
"The vast majority of customers are shopping safely, but I have also seen some customers trying to shop without a mask and shopping in larger family groups.
"Please help us to keep all our colleagues and customers safe by always wearing a mask and by shopping alone. Everyone's care and consideration matters now more than ever."
It comes after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government fears supermarkets aren't enforcing rules strict enough.
Sainsbury's said safety remains their "highest priority", and that customers were given regular reminders to follow the rules.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said: "We continue to have a range of measures in place to keep customers and colleagues safe in our stores.
"We have greeters outside our supermarkets and busy convenience stores to limit the number of customers coming into stores and continue to remind customers to wear face coverings and shop alone if they are able to.
"We also have posters and regular Tannoy announcements."
Tesco said it was still enforcing social distancing practices in store but was not looking yet at reintroducing measures such as one-way aisles.
"The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we already have extensive social distancing measures in our stores to ensure everyone can shop safely with us," the store said on Twitter.
"We are asking all our customers to wear a face covering when visiting our stores and have prominent signs in place to inform customers of the rules.
"However, there may be some customers who are unable to wear a face covering for medical or safety reasons and we have asked our colleagues to respect that and to not challenge them directly."
Local authorities have also promised to work with the Government to enforce rules in supermarkets.
A spokesperson at the Local Government Association (LGA) said: "We are aware that an ongoing concern among councils and enforcement officers relates to levels of social distancing, the use of face masks and infection control compliance at supermarkets and are pleased that the Government is currently looking into this.
"We will continue to work with councils and Government to ensure that any changes brought in to increase safety in our communities are done so effectively."