A number of UK supermarkets will not be enforcing mask wearing in their stores after face covering restrictions were reintroduced in some settings to curb the spread of the new omicron variant of Covid-19 today.
Legislation that came into force on Tuesday makes it a criminal offence not to wear masks in shops and on trains, buses, the London Underground, ferries and aircraft.
According to a report from the BBC, Iceland staff are not being asked to challenge customers who enter their shops without masks to protect them from abuse.
Iceland boss Richard Walker told the BBC’s Radio Four Today programme that staff “are already working under significant pressure, especially as we hit the busiest trading month of the year.”
He added: “I won’t be putting my staff at any risk of confrontation or abuse.”
Aldi and Lidl similarly have no plans to ask customers to wear face coverings.
Meanwhile, Tesco have said they will be putting up signs in an attempt to remind customers to wear their masks.
In Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, security or other staff members will be reminding customers to put on their face coverings.
Morrisons is also set to hand out face coverings to customers who arrive without them. The same goes for Asda.
It comes after Mr Johnson announced that face coverings will become mandatory again in shops and on public transport in England at a Downing Street press conference on Saturday.
People must also wear them in other places “such as banks, post offices and hairdressers,” according to government guidance issued on Sunday, which said the changes will come into effect from 4am on Tuesday.
This means that, under current guidelines, there is no requirement to wear a face covering in other venues such as cinemas, theatres, pubs and restaurants.
At the press briefing, Mr Johnson said the new measures are “temporary and precautionary” and will be reviewed in three weeks.
“I’m absolutely confident that this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas,” he added. “That will do for the time being.”
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