Do I need to wear face masks in shops and supermarkets from July 19?

Do I need to wear face masks in shops and supermarkets from July 19?
Do I need to wear face masks in shops and supermarkets from July 19?
Face masks won’t be legally required from today. (Picture: Getty)

The Government will no longer be enforcing the legal requirement to wear a face mask in indoor spaces, from July 19, also dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ as the country becomes free from Covid restrictions.

Despite the change of the legal requirement to do so, many experts believe people should still wear masks where appropriate, and follow social distancing where they are in close proximity with others.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has also said people will still be expected to wear a face covering in ‘enclosed indoor spaces’, even though it won’t be legally enforced.

Here’s what supermarkets have said about wearing face masks in stores from today.

What are the supermarket rules on face masks after Freedom Day?

Most supermarkets are encouraging shoppers to continue to wear a mask where possible, but will not refuse entry to those who do not.

Here’s what we know about each supermarket so far.

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Tesco

A spokesperson for the company said: ‘We’re asking our customers and colleagues to be on the safe side, and so from 19 July we’ll be encouraging our colleagues to wear face coverings whilst they work and encouraging our customers to do the same when they shop with us.’

Other continued safety measures will include limits on the number of people in store at any time.

Asda

A statement for Asda confirms that they will encourage to shoppers to continue to wear masks.

The 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 19 July.’

Signs and announcements in stores will encourage people to keep wearing masks and masks will be provided at the front of stores for those who wish to wear one.

A man wearing a face mask pushes a shopping cart at a Tesco supermarket
Most major supermarkets have put on a unified front, asking customers and workers to wear a mask if they can (Picture: REUTERS)

Morrisons

Morrisons will also encourage all customers and colleagues to follow guidance in store and to ‘exercise their own judgment,’ a representative for the supermarket said.

‘We will also continue to offer a free face covering to any customer or colleague who may have forgotten theirs.’

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s will also continue to ask customers to wear a mask – it’s been widely reported that tannoy messages and signs in store will ask customers to wear one ‘if they can.’

A statement released by the supermarket confirmed that they will continue ‘to ask everyone in stores to continue to wear a face covering if they can ‘based on ‘feedback from customers and colleagues where the majority of people surveyed want to keep the policy in place.’

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Lidl

Lidl will continue to ask customers to ‘wear face coverings in crowded or indoor spaces and we will have signage in place at store entrances reminding our customers of this’, a spokesperson for the store confirmed.

Aldi

An Aldi spokesperson said: ‘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.

Waitrose and John Lewis

John Lewis Partnership will recommend customers and staff in England continue to wear a face covering, unless exempt, from July 19.

A spokesperson said: ‘The decision over whether to do so or not, when in our shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgment.’

Do supermarket staff have to wear face masks?

Tube passengers wearing protective face coverings
Commuters in London will continue to wear face masks on Tfl transport, including buses and the tube (Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

It is not a legal requirement for anyone to wear a face mask, be they staff or shopper.

However, it’s likely that companies might ask their employees to continue to wear masks in keeping with the statements released so far.

If you’re unsure as to the rules or what your rights are, speak with your employer or HR administrator.

This is the case for services including Transport for London (TFL).

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made it compulsory to wear face coverings on public transport after 19 July.


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Author: Jack Slater