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12th Jan 2021

Sainsbury’s security guards to eject customers who refuse to wear face masks

Reuben Pinder

Wear a fucking mask

With cases of Covid-19 continually on the rise almost a year after the virus hit these shores, and essential shops still in operation, supermarkets are ramping up their policy on face coverings in stores.

Since the start of the pandemic, it has always been strongly advised that customers wear face masks in shops, for incredibly obvious reasons. However, the enforcement of such guidelines has been lax at best. But numerous supermarkets are committing to refusing custom to anyone who refuses to wear a face covering in their store.

On Monday it was announced that Morrison’s would ban customers who refused to take the minuscule sacrifice of covering their mouth and nose for half an hour while they do the big shop.

In a statement, Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Those who are offered a face covering and decline to wear one won’t be allowed to shop at Morrisons unless they are medically exempt.

“Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind.”

And now Sainsbury’s are doubling down, saying customers who do not abide by the rules will be challenged by security guards.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said: “Security guards will support our colleagues at the front of store and will challenge customers who are not wearing masks or who are shopping in groups. I know you’ll understand and support what we are trying to do.”

This comes following pressure from unions representing supermarket workers.

Usdaw, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, said it has been “inundated” with complaints from shop workers extremely concerned for their safety.

Supermarket workers told Usdaw they felt “deeply concerned” with the number of shoppers not adhering to face mask rules.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Retail staff are working with the public every day and not only suffer increased abuse, but are deeply worried about catching Covid-19.

“Where safety measures are agreed, retailers need to make sure that they are being followed consistently, in every store.

“We are also very concerned by reports that too many customers are not following necessary safety measures like social distancing, wearing a face covering and only shopping for essential items.

“These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”