Supermarket shoppers will get the choice to wear a face mask or not from July 19, as all the UK’s big grocery stores say they’ll leave it up to us to decide.
Earlier this week it was announced that the population will no longer have to wear face masks as of July 19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference on Monday that, as of July 19’s ‘Freedom Day’, all remaining restrictions will be eased, including the legal order to wear a face mask indoors.
He urged the English public to continue covering their faces in “crowded and enclosed spaces” after his “big bang” unlocking, but said it will no longer be a legal requirement.
However, wearing one after July 19 is a sensible precaution unless you are exempt, as there are now 250,000 Delta Covid cases in the UK .
Here is where all the supermarkets stand on the issue:
You will be encouraged to wear a face mask from Monday, but the supermarket will not enforce this.
An Aldi spokesperson said: “From Monday July 19 we’ll continue to encourage customers and colleagues to wear face coverings when they’re in store.
“Other measures like hand sanitiser and screens will also stay in place. Face masks are still required for customers and colleagues in our Welsh and Scottish stores, in line with the latest guidance.”
An Asda spokesperson told Nottinghamshire Live: “We encourage customers to be respectful to each other and to follow the Government guidance on face coverings when shopping in our stores after 19th July.”
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The supermarket will have signage and announcements on Asda radio in store to encourage customers to follow the government guidance on face coverings.
It will also provide face coverings at the front of store for customers who wish to wear one.
Lidl says face masks will not be required but that it will follow government guidance.
So if Number 10 decide masks are needed again, you’ll need to wear one to visit the discount supermarket.
A Lidl spokesperson said: “Although no longer legally required, the government recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded or indoor spaces and we will have signage in place at store entrances reminding our customers of this.”
The luxury supermarket has not yet revealed what its face mask policy will be from ‘Freedom Day’.
Supermarket chain Morrisons will also give more detailed guidance soon.
Shoppers at Sainsbury’s will be encouraged to keep wearing masks in stores next week, even though it won’t be legally required.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: “As we respond to the recent change in government guidance, we know that safety is still top of mind for many of our colleagues and customers.
“Our colleagues’ safety is vital and many of our colleagues would feel more comfortable if those who can wear face coverings continue to wear them.
“We’re asking everyone to be considerate and, while we understand wearing a face covering will now be a personal choice, we want to ensure we best support and protect each other in the weeks and months ahead.”
Anyone working or shopping in a Tesco supermarket will be urged to wear a mask, which a spokesperson said was to “be on the safe side”.
The chain will also be limiting the number of customers in-store and carrying on with its policy of using separate entrances and exits.
A Tesco spokesperson added: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment. Having listened to our customers and colleagues, we will continue to have safety measures in place in our stores; these include limiting the number of people in store at any time, protective screens at every checkout, hand sanitiser stations and regular cleaning.”
The chain of supermarkets said customers could wear a mask at their own discretion. The same rule applies to John Lewis, the sister company of Waitrose.
A spokesman for the John Lewis Partnership said: “In line with government guidance, we will recommend that our customers and partners in England continue to wear a face covering, unless exempt, from July 19.”