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Tesco to enforce mask wearing and lone shopping
12 January 2021, 13:25 | Updated: 12 January 2021, 13:37
Supermarket giant Tesco has announced it will be enforcing face mask wearing and lone shopping, as the country grapples with the ongoing spread of Covid-19
A statement said: "We won’t let anyone into stores not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt... We are also asking customers to shop alone, unless they’re a carer or with children... we will have additional security to help manage this".
It comes after Morrisons and Sainsbury's announced similar policies yesterday.
It comes after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government was concerned that supermarkets were becoming places where the virus could be spread more easily.
He said: "We are concerned that, for example, in supermarkets we need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way rule in supermarkets.
"And, of course, when they are at capacity - to operate safely, people wait outside supermarkets."We don't want to go any tougher, because this is a pretty tough lockdown."
There are only a few cases where people can be exempt from wearing face masks in settings such as supermarkets, including children under the age of 11, people who physically cannot put a mask on or wear one, and people for whom putting on, wearing or taking off a mask would cause "severe distress".
Also exempt are people accompanying those who rely on lip reading, or those in cases where using a mask would risk harm or injury to others.
On Monday, Boris Johnson urged the public to respect coronavirus regulations when out grocery shopping and buying takeaway coffee, amid "deep" concerns from food retail workers over their safety.
Shopworkers' union Usdaw said that it had been "inundated" with complaints from its members - who are classed as key workers - and called for supermarkets to revert to more stringent in-store measures.
Retail bosses have also suggested that further police support is needed to help enforce measures, which they say are leading to an increase in abuse towards staff.
The prime minister said people needed to "do the right thing" by adhering to social distancing when out.
"We need to enforce the rules in supermarkets. When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much," he said.
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: "Retail staff are working with the public every day and not only suffer increased abuse, but are deeply worried about catching Covid-19.
"Where safety measures are agreed, retailers need to make sure that they are being followed consistently, in every store.
"We are also very concerned by reports that too many customers are not following necessary safety measures like social distancing, wearing a face covering and only shopping for essential items.
"Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families.
"These key workers must be valued, respected and protected."
More to follow...