Supermarkets’ rules for face masks on ‘Freedom Day’

Shoppers are allowed to go to supermarkets in England without a mask but retailers still encourage face coverings on ‘Freedom Day’ and beyond.

Legally, as of today, face coverings are no longer a requirement in indoor public settings in England. Instead, the Government “expects and recommends” that masks are worn in enclosed spaces, especially when they are crowded.

The official message is one of “personal responsibility” and “informed choice”, so instead of being forced to wear masks, individuals are only encouraged to.

But individual businesses like shops and public transport providers are allowed to set their own rules. Transport for London and the Tyne-Wear Metro are among the organisations which will continue to require customers to wear masks.

Supermarkets are mostly following the Government advice, by encouraging but not forcing customers to wear masks.

In Scotland and Wales the rules are different, masks are still a legal requirement in enclosed public spaces.

Supermarket mask policies at Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco

Essentially, the rules are the same as everywhere else. Customers in England do not have to wear a face-covering in supermarkets, but each business is encouraging shoppers to do so.

Shoppers in Scotland and Wales must continue to wear masks by law, unless they have a valid medical exemption.

Aldi

Customers will be encouraged, but not forced to wear face masks in Aldi’s English stores, while hygiene measures like hand sanitiser and plastic protective screens will remain in store.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “From Monday July 19 we’ll continue to encourage customers and colleagues to wear face coverings when they’re in store.

“Other measures like hand sanitiser and screens will also stay in place. Face masks are still required for customers and colleagues in our Welsh and Scottish stores, in line with the latest guidance.”

Asda

Signs and announcements will continue to encourage Asda shoppers to wear masks in England, but the choice will be up to individual shoppers.

An Asda spokesperson- 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 July 19.”

Lidl

Customers in England will be reminded they are encouraged to continue wearing masks, but again, they won’t be forced to wear a face-covering indoors, just encouraged and advised.

A Lidl spokesperson said: “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.”

Morrisons

The supermarket chain says it will follow Government advice in England, Scotland and Wales – which means customers in England can choose to use masks, but those in Scotland and Wales must continue to wear them.

Morrisons says: “In England, while face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement, the guidance encourages everyone to wear one in crowded areas. 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.

“In Scotland and Wales face coverings remain a legal requirement and from Monday, a 1 metre social distancing rule in Scotland and 2 metre social distancing rule in Wales will apply. All customers and colleagues will be advised to follow this guidance in our stores.”

Sainsbury’s

Again, Sainsbury’s shoppers in England have the choice to use a mask or not, but they will be encouraged to wear them in-store in England, and required to in Scotland and Wales.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts 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’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

Staff at Tesco are encouraged to wear masks, as are shoppers, but in England it is a choice, not a requirement.

Tesco will continue to cap the number of shoppers in store and operate separate entrances and exits where possible.

A Tesco spokesperson 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

Customers at Waitrose can choose to wear or not wear a mask, although face coverings are encouraged.

A spokesman for the John Lewis Partnership said: “In line with government guidance, we will recommend that our customers and partners in England continue to wear a face covering, unless exempt, from July 19.”

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