Face masks in shops and on public transport will be required in England from Tuesday – here’s what you need to know about the new rules in supermarkets
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Face coverings in England will be mandatory in shops and on public transport from Tuesday once more.
Masks had been compulsory until July 19 when a raft of measures were relaxed, but in a hastily convened No10 press conference, the Government announced they would be brought back in response to spread of the Omicron variant.
From Tuesday, the mandate for face coverings will be enforceable in all shops in England – unless someone is exempt.
Rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – where face coverings have been necessary throughout – will not change.
Announcing the change of rules on Friday, Health Secretary Sajid Javid added he hopes the tougher rules in England would be “temporary” amid fears the new Covid strain could evade existing vaccines.
What will happen if I break the rules?
The Government is yet to announced the exact details of its guidance, with the fine pint set to be announced on Monday.
Anyone who forgets or refuses to wear a mask in a shop or on public transport could face a £200 fine the first time, it has been reported.
The charge will then double for each offence.
This will make it £400 the second time, £800 the third – up to £6,400.
However, the system will allow people to half their fine by paying within the first two weeks.
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Which supermarkets will be enforcing the new rules?
So far, Aldi is the only supermarket to confirm it will change its rules from Tuesday.
Aldi UK CEO Giles Hurley said: “The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority.
“Following the latest Government announcement, wearing a face covering will be mandatory for everyone that shops at Aldi from Tuesday 30 November, except for those who have a medical exemption.”
Masks also remain compulsory in Aldi’s Scottish and Welsh stores. Other measures such as hand sanitiser and screens will also stay in place.
Currently, Lidl is not enforcing face coverings in England, but is in line with the rules in Scotland and Wales.
The website currently reads: “Although no longer legally required in England, the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas and we will have signage in place at store entrances reminding our customers of this.”
Workers have also been given the opportunity to decide if they want to wear them or not.
Asda has stated it has always followed government guidance, and is awaiting to see what the details are when they are released tomorrow.
It is asking customers to continue being respectful towards other customers, and provides face coverings for those who need them
Customers must wear face coverings while in-store in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, unless they are exempt.
Morrisons has issued a statement that it will be “following all updated government guidelines” to keep customers and colleagues safe.
Iceland’s current rules say: “Face coverings are no longer mandatory in shops in England, however we encourage customers and colleagues to continue to wear face coverings in Iceland stores, if they are able to do so.”
It is thought they will release a new statement when the details of the rules are announced.
For the time being, Waitrose recommends customers wear face coverings in stores, but says it is up to the individual if they want to.
In response to questions over whether the rules in Sainsbury’s would be changing, a spokesperson said: “We are reviewing the latest government guidance and will keep customers and colleagues updated.”
Tesco has continued to ask its customers to keep wearing mask even though it is not a legal requirement
A statement on the website reads: “Please keep wearing a face covering in our stores if you can.
“The government expects and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces.
“So we’re encouraging our colleagues and you, our customers, to continue wearing face coverings if you can.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.