Sainsbury’s and John Lewis ask shoppers to continue wearing face masks despite rule change

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Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose will ask customers in England to continue wearing face masks despite the government scrapping plan B measures and its mask mandate from tomorrow.

John Lewis is among the group of leading stores that will continue to ask staff and shoppers to wear face masks
John Lewis is among the group of leading stores that will continue to ask staff and shoppers to wear face masks

Major supermarkets will ask staff and customers to continue wearing face masks after plan B measures end tomorrow.

Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose will remind shoppers to wear a cover in store despite the government removing the rule as a legal requirement from Thursday.

However, Morrisons has confirmed that it will welcome mask-free shoppers, the BBC reports.

Retailers said visitors will not be forced to wear masks but will be encouraged to keep staff and others safe.

Downing Street launched Plan B in early December to combat the surge in Omicron cases.

The measures are lifted as of tomorrow because the mutation has already peaked, the Government has said.

Although no longer a legal issue, the government still recommends Britons wear a mask in closed or crowded spaces, and when meeting strangers.

Sainsbury’s and Waitrose will also urge customers to wear covers
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The USDAW retail workers’ union is also urging shoppers to “observe Covid safety measures.”

Speaking to the broadcaster, Sainsbury’s said safety was its “top priority”.

The supermarket plans to put up signs and remind customers about the tannoy about their orientation.

In a statement, they said: “In Scotland and Wales, face coverings remain compulsory for those who can wear them in our stores, in line with the latest government restrictions.

Currys electronics store will only ask staff to wear masks
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“We continue to have a variety of safety measures in place at all of our stores, including screens and sanitizing stations.”

Department store John Lewis, which owns Waitrose, will “suggest people wear masks” but say “it will be up to individuals to make a personal decision”.

Meanwhile, the Currys electronics store will ask staff to wear masks in the store and while delivering products. But customers are not expected to do so.

The stores say they will not force customers, but will encourage the measure
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“We will continue to evaluate our approach based on infection rates and feedback from colleagues,” the company said.

Usdaw, which represents 360,000 retail workers, said the government’s move to end the measure was “deeply disappointing” while infection rates “remain high”.

General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “We expect all retailers to continue to prioritize the safety of staff and customers.

“Wearing a face covering is an important measure to help protect workers who have no choice but to interact with the public.”

Rail operators also plan to ask travelers to abide by mask-wearing rules on their services.

Plan B will end tomorrow in the UK
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AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson confirmed that all Plan B measures will end tomorrow.

This means mandatory mask wearing on public transport and in shops, guidance to work from home and the need for Covid passes will be removed, even as Omicron infection rates continue to rise across the country.

The UK will return to Plan A with a focus on rolling out the vaccine, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid warning last Wednesday that “it’s not the end of the road” even if the number of cases is falling.

This means that the end of Plan B does not mean the end of restrictions altogether.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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