Sainsbury’s staff will not challenge shoppers who enter stores without face coverings as they ‘may be exempt from the new rules’.
People who do not wear face masks in shops, takeaways, banks, building societies and post offices in England will face a £100 fine from July 24.
The new rules do not apply to children under the age of 11 or those who are not able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability.
When asked if customers would be questioned if they did not cover their faces, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said the supermarket was opposed to doing so.
They tweeted: ‘We won’t be challenging customers without a mask when they enter or when they are in store since they may have a reason not to wear a mask.’
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Waitrose, Lidl and Tesco workers will also not enforce mask-wearing, with supermarket spokespeople saying it will be left to police – but all three chains warned today that customers have a responsibility to wear one.
Sainbury’s has been praised for its stance on Twitter, with many people saying they had stood up for those with invisible disabilities.
One person wrote: ‘Well done Sainsbury’s! Disabled people don’t need to be challenged or shamed if they can’t wear a mask. Let’s hope other shops are reasonable and fair too!’
Another added: ‘Guess where I’ll be shopping? You got it – at Sainsbury’s’.
However, others expressed concern that people who are not on the exemptions list could get away without wearing a mask.
Face coverings will not be compulsory in places such as restaurants and pubs, hairdressers, gyms, leisure centres, cinemas, concert halls and theatres, it was confirmed on Thursday.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: ‘You’ve seen over the course of recent months the British public have voluntarily chosen to follow the guidance because they want to help slow the spread of the virus and I’m sure that will be the case with face coverings as well.
‘With shops, we would expect them to give advice to customers and remind them that they should be wearing a face covering and I’m sure the overwhelming majority of the public will do so.’
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