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Gloucestershire Business News

Supermarkets not enforcing mask mandate

Major supermarkets are not enforcing the mask wearing introduced by government in response to reported cases of a new Covid variant.

Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland are among stores that are taking a light touch and not challenging customers.

The renewed face mandate was introduced on Tuesday, but the British Retail Consortium says staff need to be protected from potential conflict.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "Retailers will be communicating the new rules on face coverings in England through in-store signage and other channels. However, it is vital that we do not place hardworking retail staff in harm's way, and enforcement of face coverings must remain the duty of the authorities."

A spokesman for Lidl said: "We can confirm that we will continue to follow government guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings, and that the enforcement is the responsibility of the authorities. But we will continue to encourage mask wearing through our customer communication."

The Co-op's policy director Paul Gerrard told BBC Radio that while the retailer would put up signs, staff would not refuse to serve customers who were not wearing a mask.

A spokesperson for Co-op, added: "Our priority is to provide a safe shopping and working environment for our customers and colleagues, throughout the pandemic we have followed all official face covering guidelines from the UK Government and Governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales."

Supermarkets are required to ensure all customers can access stores, including those with visible and invisible disabilities, which means they may not be able to wear a face covering.

To encourage compliance with the government regulations, prominent reminders are in place to remind customers that it is mandatory to wear a face covering in store unless they are exempt.

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