'We can't even deal with shoplifters' - store worker says she cannot enforce mask-wearing

6 October 2020, 17:10

By Sam Sholli

A supermarket worker has told LBC that she doesn't have the support necessary to enforce the Government's face covering rule.

Face coverings are compulsory across the UK when people are travelling on public transport. The rule also applies to people in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres as well as to people who are not seated at a table to eat or drink in hospitality venues.

Speaking to James O'Brien, Sarah from Barnsley said: "I work in a supermarket and I don't particularly think that it is right that it's up to us to enforce it. We can't even deal with shoplifters.

"I've had colleagues that have been hit with trollies and stuff and punched."

When asked by James what possessed people to behave in such a way, Sarah explained: "I think the problem is, because obviously with all the cuts to the police and everything, if we detain somebody it takes more staff to sit and detain that person and the police might take hours to come. We can't have them sat in the cash office.

"And if we've only got three members of staff in the store, because I work in a smaller store, then there's nobody on the shop floor and they know that."

She added: "We use the internal system just to escalate it and just report that it has happened, but there's nothing that we can do.

"If we've been told not to chase after a shoplifter or not to intervene and we do intervene and we get injured, then we can get sacked for that or we can get disciplined for that because you won't get paid out if you get hurt..."

Face coverings do not have to be worn in supermarkets by people who are unable to put on or wear one due to a physical or mental illness or disability. But Sarah told James that people who don't fall under that category are "taking advantage" of the exemption.

Sarah and James' exchange on LBC took place as figures today show that the death toll for coronavirus in England and Wales has risen for the third week in a row.

The Office of National Statistics says 215 Covid-19 deaths were registered in the week to September 25th - more than 50 per cent higher than the week before. In the north west figures have almost tripled.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that coronavirus is spreading "quickly and widely" in the capital and has urged people to "wear a face mask, wash [their] hands and stick to the rule of six".