Tesco confirms new Covid rules now in place in supermarkets as variant spreads

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Tesco CEO Jason Tarry sent an email to customers this afternoon with details about the measures, including mask-wearing and a traffic light system, that will be enforced in stores from today

Tesco has rolled out a series of Covid measures in its stores, including mask wearing
Tesco has rolled out a series of Covid measures in its stores, including mask wearing

Tesco has confirmed its new Covid rules amid fears of the new Omicron strain.

The supermarket’s CEO Jason Tarry sent an email to customers this afternoon with details of five changes across stores to prevent the spread of the virus.

His announcement contradicts an earlier report from the BBC which said several UK supermarkets, including Tesco, would not enforce the Government’s mask-wearing law.

In the email, Mr Tarry said it will be a “legal requirement for customers to wear a face covering in our stores (unless exempt)”.

Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, will also operate a “traffic light system” in most large stores and the “busiest Express stores”.

Customers have been able to shop mask-less for several months

The system will help staff to “monitor the flow of customers and prevent overcrowding”.

Hand sanitisers will be placed at store entrances for people to clean their hands and wipe down baskets and trolleys.

Protective screens have been installed around each checkout – which are now all open to “reduce queuing times”.

Staff have designated separate exits and entrances to make entering and leaving the store as “easy as possible”.

The chain will have protective screen around checkouts so they can open all and reduce queuing times

Mr Tarry also asked customers to remember drivers and in-store staff are “still working very hard in difficult circumstances” to “feed the nation”.

“So we’d just ask everyone to please be kind, patient and respectful as we try to keep everyone safe”, he said.

It comes after the BBC reported several stores would not enforce mask wearing.

Iceland said customers would not be asked to don masks to stop them facing abuse.

The earlier report suggested Tesco would only put signs up to advise customers to wear masks.

Budget stores Aldi and Lidl will also avoid challenging customers, the BBC reports.

News of the soft approach follows an announcement from industry body The British Retail Consortium, who said police should enforce the rule rather than retailers.

Tesco has rolled out a series of Covid measures in its stores

“Greeters and security guards” will remind people to cover up at Sainsbury’s, according to the broadcaster.

Morrisons will dish out masks to customers who have forgotten them and check people as they enter. Asda will also provide face coverings if needed.

And Iceland chief Richard Walker said it was unfair to put staff “at risk” of abuse from people who don’t want to put a mask on.

He said: “They are already working under significant pressure, especially as we hit the busiest trading month of the year.

“I won’t be putting my staff at any risk of confrontation or abuse,” he said.

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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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