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29th Nov 2021

Iceland boss says staff won’t force shoppers to wear masks despite rules

Charlie Herbert

Iceland boss says supermarket will not make customers wear face masks

However the chain ‘fully supports the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops’

The boss of supermarket chain Iceland has said that staff will not be forcing shoppers to wear masks, despite them being made compulsory in shops from Tuesday as part of new covid rules.

The chain’s managing director Richard Walker said that Iceland would instead be focusing on the “long-term recovering of the high street.”

Brits could face fines of £200 for refusing to wear a mask when required, which could rise to £400 for a second infraction and £800 for a third.

Walker, the managing director of Iceland, said staff on the shop floor should not be asked to intervene when they spot someone without a mask and that Iceland staff would not be policing the policy in their stores.

He told the Daily Mail: “We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops, however, we won’t be asking our store colleagues to police it.

“Our store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown heroic efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it’s crucial that we stay focused on the long-term recovery of the high street.

“We need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable, and I’m hopeful that the latest guidelines won’t discourage customers from doing so.”

The Co-op has also said that they would not be enforcing face coverings in their stores.

Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium said that it is up to the police to enforce the rules, adding: “Customers are asked to respect the rules and be considerate to their fellow shoppers and to hard-working shop staff.”

On Sunday November 28, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that face masks would be compulsory in shops and on public transport from Tuesday November 30.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, he was asked by the host: “This is a new rule which is in place now and people who don’t obey that, people who go into shops without masks can be fined, will be fined?”

Initially avoiding the question, Javid was then asked whether the government is insisting that “everybody going into a shop wears a mask” and whether there would be “sanctions on people who refuse to?”

The health secretary eventually replied: “Yes, it will be a legal requirement by government regulations to wear masks in shops and public transport.”

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