Environment Secretary George Eustice has suggested that it will not be mandatory for staff in places like Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl to wear coverings.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We want to give people time to plan and prepare and for retailers to maybe put in place measures to encourage people to do this or potentially even to have some masks themselves if people haven’t got one.
“Once you make something mandatory as we’re doing now for retail environments it sends a much stronger signal that people will follow in greater numbers.”
Speaking about supermarket staff he said: “They’re not being covered by this but I think if you go into most shops you will see that staff for a longer time now have either been wearing face shields or face masks.
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“It won’t be a compulsory requirement because it won’t always be right for every setting in a retail environment, particularly those working behind the tills and so on.”
However, the UK government has laid out some exemptions: “You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering”
What are the mask rules in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Aldi?
Tesco has not made masks compulsory, but it does have masks available to staff who want them.
There are social distancing measures and one way aisles in store.
Asda hasn’t made masks compulsory yet, but it seems like it will.
A spokesperson said: “We are complying with all Government guidelines and we welcome customers wearing face masks or not.
“Our colleagues all have the option of wearing face masks which we have supplied and the colleagues in clinical settings (pharmacy and optical) have been required to wear masks since the start of the pandemic as per the government guidelines on clinical workers.”
A spokesperson explained: “Masks are available for all our colleagues who wish to use them while they work or travel to their place of work.”
They are not yet compulsory for customers in a way that is enforced by staff.
Since the lockdown Aldi has offered masks to customers and staff, but have not made them compulsory.
It said in a statement: “Aldi will be providing the option of face masks to all its store-based colleagues to further support their safety as they continue to feed the nation.
“This move is in addition to the previously announced provision of gloves and clear screens that are being installed at more than 7,000 checkouts.
“Colleagues can also now access the government’s Covid-19 testing programme for critical workers.”