Sainsbury & # 39; s teamed up with Morrisons to reinstate bouncers outside supermarkets today to force masks to be worn as police said they lacked the manpower to enforce the rules.
Morrisons said it would ban buyers who refused to wear a mask without a medical reason, while Sainsburys said guards would "challenge" Flouter.
UK Police Minister Kit Malthouse said police would intervene in the event of serious breaches of Covid rules in stores, but the measures imposed and enforced by the owners would be effective in most cases.
Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, stressed that officers would only intervene if "other crimes were committed," for example if the customer who refused to wear a mask became violent or abusive.
He added, "We just don't have enough police resources to have an officer in every supermarket."
It came when Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said it was "absurd" that people would not know the Covid rules and vowed to continue breaking the law.
Meanwhile, Mr Booth criticized the current regulations as "woolly", saying they left too many "loose ends" for "choppy" officials to interpret for themselves.
He suggested that the widely publicized fine of two walkers in Derbyshire was correct under the guidelines.
"An officer issued a ticket as it was written," he told BBC Radio 4's Today program. "When you have a new law, it is usually controversial and goes to court, where it is argued and becomes a case law.
"But we don't have time for it. So what we need is a solid legal basis, and we need it now instead of asking open questions."
Pictured: a young man without a face mask in an Asda supermarket in south east London during the third lockdown
People who do not wear masks properly and find themselves under their chin in an Asda in south east London, England
There were people in Tesco stores who didn't wear masks, despite the rules that put shoppers on unless they were exempt
Also, due to the number of shoppers in stores, some supermarkets made it difficult to observe social distancing
Members of the public lamented the mask situation in supermarkets in a series of online posts on Twitter
During the initial closure, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule violators and developed one-way systems in-store to help people distance themselves socially.
But bouncers began to fade as the Covid-19 threat subsided over the summer, leading to an increasingly "careless" attitude from shoppers who no longer covered their faces.
Shop workers have found they are being abused by customers for encouraging them to wear masks, fueling demand for bouncers to visibly enforce lockdown measures.
Police chief Cressida Dick said it was "absurd" that people might not know about coronavirus laws as she vows to continue to punish people
The UK's senior police officer said it was "absurd" that people might not be aware of the need for the third national lockdown and warned that rule violations will be fined.
Police chief Dame Cressida Dick said people are still holding house parties, meeting in basements to play, and taking part in unlicensed raves despite rising numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.
She warned that anyone caught breaking or failing to comply with the rules would result in officials "moving into enforcement action much faster".
It comes amid mounting calls for stricter shutdown restrictions, with No10 even considering imposing Chinese-style curfews, outdoor masked mandates, and ten feet of social distance.
Dame Cressida wrote in the Times today: “It is absurd to me that no one could be aware of our duty to do everything possible to stop the virus from spreading. We were aware that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly being fined.
"We will continue to engage, explain and encourage, but those who break the rules or refuse to abide by them for no good reason will find officials move to enforcement action much faster."
Morrisons announced that it would deny shoppers who refuse to wear masks access to its nearly 500 stores, with Sainsbury's subsequent suit revealing that security guards would "challenge" non-mask wearers.
Shop workers union, Usdaw, said it was "inundated" with complaints from its members about abuse from its members during the pandemic, calling for supermarkets and grocery retailers to return to "tight" restrictions.
High street chains like Tesco, Sainsbury & # 39; s and Waitrose insisted that Covid safety remains their "top priority" and said customers would be regularly reminded to abide by the rules.
But shocking examples of the regulation violations were evident in the big brand stores when Boris Johnson warned against "complacency" and urged people to abide by the restrictions.
London's Borough Market becomes the first place in the UK to require the wearing of masks by law, while the Welsh Minister of Health has hinted that restrictions could be tightened as he has advised people to wear masks between shops in public .
The Prime Minister said: “We have to enforce the rules in supermarkets. When people get takeaway drinks in cafes, they need to avoid spreading the disease there and avoid mixing too much. & # 39;
In a statement, Morrisons said that since last year he has "implemented and consistently maintained thorough and robust security measures in all of our stores."
But it added, "As of today, we continue to strengthen our policy on masks." This shows that the security guards of the UK's fourth largest supermarket chain will enforce the new rules.
Enforcement of face masks is the responsibility of the police, not the retailer. Wearing face masks in supermarkets and shops is mandatory across the UK.
In England, the police can fine someone who breaks the face-covering rules. A fine of £ 60 can be imposed in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Repeat offenders can expect higher fines.
Morrisons General Manager David Potts announced, “Those who are offered face-covering and who do not wish to wear one are not allowed to shop at Morrisons unless they are medically exempt.
"Our business colleagues work hard to feed you and your family. Please be kind."
Simon Roberts, General Manager of Sainsbury, said: “On behalf of all of my colleagues, I ask our customers to help us keep everyone safe.
“The vast majority of customers shop for sure, but I've also seen a few customers who have tried to shop without a mask and shop in larger family groups.
“Please help us protect all of our colleagues and customers by always wearing a mask and shopping alone. The care and consideration of everyone is more important than ever today. & # 39;
Face Covering: Who Is Exempt?
Children under the age of 11 and people who are unable to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical illness are exempt from wearing masks.
Also excluded are people who need to speak to or help someone who reads lips or who need a clear tone and / or facial expression to communicate.
Carrying an exemption card or ID is, according to the government, a "personal choice" and "not required by law".
If you have a reason for age, health or disability not to wear a mask, you are "not required to provide routine written evidence" and "do not provide an exemption card".
The full list of exceptions can be found Here.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised Morrisons for introducing a blanket masking rule and said at a press conference on Downing Street: “It's not just about the government and the rules we set or the police and the work they do – it's about how everyone behaves.
“I applaud the action Morrisons has taken in the supermarket today. They have said they will not let people in without a mask unless they clearly have a medical reason. That is the right approach and I want all parts of society to play their part. & # 39;
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi expressed concern over the public's failure to comply with measures taken by supermarkets and suggested that restrictions may be tightened.
"I worry about supermarkets and people who actually wear masks, follow the one-way system and make sure they wait outside the supermarket when capacity is full," he said.
Shop workers are reported to be mistreated by customers who do not wear masks. Skye Henson, a 23-year-old Lincoln supermarket clerk, said people took the first ban "much more seriously," claiming "we're lucky when the people are." wear masks now.
She told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, “A good 30 percent of the people who come into our store aren't wearing masks and just don't think that's a problem. They don't see us as in any danger, so I think a lot of it is the public who are putting us at risk. & # 39;
Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis said, "Retail workers work with the public every day and not only suffer from increased abuse but are deeply concerned about the catch of Covid-19.
Grocery shopping is one of the reasons Brits are allowed to leave their homes during the third national crisis
The coronavirus rules stipulate that people are not allowed to wear a mask if they suffer from an illness that excludes them
Vendors remind customers to wear masks in the grocery store, although some may be exempt from it for medical reasons
Supermarket coronavirus rules apply
Sainsbury & # 39; s
Face masks are mandatory in the store unless the buyer is medically exempt from wearing them.
There are also plastic security bars, hand sanitizer, and signs encouraging customers to socially distance themselves.
The store also has timed slots for the elderly or vulnerable to purchase their goods.
Marks & Spencer
M&S has hand disinfection and disposable systems and a face mask rule.
Larger stores have restricted purchases of non-essential goods.
There is also a booking process that allows people to reserve a slot store to go shopping.
Morrison & # 39; s advised staff to refuse entry to shoppers who have no medical reason not to wear a face mask.
They also have a specialized next day delivery service for those who cannot come to a store in person.
The store also has an NHS priority time that key staff members can buy groceries.
Asda, like others, has a face mask rule unless the customer has announced a medical exception.
They also have an app that allows shoppers to wait in a digital queue in their cars for a slot to come into the store.
Asda also says they put a protective film on basket and cart handles that kills bacteria.
Tesco has similar face mask and cleaning protocols in all stores.
There are also priority hours for key personnel, as well as restrictions on some items for delivery.
Larger stores still have staff in front of them warning exposed shoppers who will have to come in to hide.
According to Waitrose, face masks must be worn in stores unless a person is exempt from wearing one.
Marshals are at the entrances to their stores to check that people are wearing a mask and shopping alone.
Floor markings help customers track social distancing while encouraging users to queue two meters.
“Once security measures are in place, retailers need to ensure that they are consistently followed in every store.
& # 39; We're also very concerned about reports that too many customers are failing to follow necessary safety precautions such as social distancing, wearing a face covering, and only shopping for essential items.
“It will be some time before the vaccine is introduced and we cannot afford to be complacent in the meantime, especially when a new strain hits the nation.
"I worry about supermarkets and people who actually wear masks, follow the one-way system and make sure they wait outside the supermarket when capacity is full."
The UK retail consortium said the incidence of violence and abuse among workers increased as they tried to encourage shoppers to attract them.
Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Supermarkets continue to adhere to all safety guidelines and customers should be assured that supermarkets are Covid-safe and safe to visit during the lockdown and beyond.
"Customers should also do their part by following the signs in the store and showing consideration for employees and other shoppers."
One woman told MailOnline how Marks and Spencer told her they couldn't challenge people who didn't adhere to the mask mandate.
Fiona Call said she was shopping at a food hall in Rushden Lakes, Northamptonshire when she saw a woman.marching blatantly through the store with her mask under her chin.
“I mentioned this to a manager in the store. His answer was that you shouldn't challenge people who don't obey the rules, ”she said.
"She obviously endangered a lot of people with her behavior, and nothing could be done about it."
Marks and Spencer insisted that lockout rules be enforced, with a "friendly host at the entrance" counting customers and managing queues.
Tesco said it is still enforcing social distancing practices in the store but is not yet considering reintroducing measures like one-way aisles.
"The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we already have extensive social distancing measures in place in our stores to ensure that everyone can shop safely with us," the store said on Twitter.
& # 39; We ask all of our customers to wear face covering when visiting our stores and to put up prominent signs to inform customers of the rules.
"However, there may be customers who are unable to wear face covering for medical or safety reasons, and we asked our colleagues to respect this and not challenge them directly."
Waitrose said face masks must be worn in its stores unless a person is exempt from wearing one.
It was said that marshals flanked the entrances to his shops to check that people were complying with the masking mandate and that people were shopping alone.
The supermarket chain has also put floor markings on shoppers to follow the rules of social distancing, while signs and tannoys tell people to stay two meters apart while they queue on the premises.
Public Health England data last week found that 11 outbreaks of disease came from grocery stores.
However, UK chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said supermarket employees would not be given a priority for vaccinations initially unless they also fall into the highest susceptibility categories.
When asked by a Somerset grocery retailer on BBC Radio 5 Live, he replied, “All of us in society have relied on the extraordinary work of people maintaining retail stores for essential goods – groceries, and so on. I think we should all thank you and your colleagues very much for this.
"When it comes to prioritizing vaccination … the first wave revolves around people at the highest risk of death. This is a clinical question that is primarily related to age."
Asda shoppers put on their masks after going inside, left, or in some cases none at all, right
Everyone in England is told to stay home and act like you have it in a major advertising campaign. including posters (pictured) encouraging the public to control the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives
London's Borough Market is the first outdoor space in the UK to legally enforce face masks if someone breaks rules and is fined £ 50
Borough Market in London is the first outdoor area in the UK to legally require the wearing of face masks.
Starting Monday, customers and vendors in the food and beverage market will be fined £ 50 for not wearing face covering in and around the stalls.
Pictures taken in the market in December showed huge crowds of shoppers thronging the stalls while browsing.
The drastic move comes as the government is considering making the wearing of masks outdoors compulsory for all Britons under strict new lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson met with cabinet colleagues last night to discuss an even tougher lockdown – with measures like a ban on extended bubbles and restrictions on movement.
A Whitehall source said that MailOnline ministers had spoken about people being allowed out of the house only once a week – although No. 10 denied it was on the cards and that the focus was on “strengthening enforcement and police work ”was.
"Obviously, when someone gets into this situation, if they are an elderly person who works in retail, or if they have any health condition, they are obviously being drawn into that situation."
Prof. Whitty added that once the most vulnerable people were vaccinated, ministers would decide who to prioritize next.
Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was "easier" not to remove a face covering when moving between important stores to protect yourself from coronavirus.
Mr Gething told the Welsh Government press conference that following hygiene warnings is now "more important than ever" as he promised to speed up the introduction of vaccinations in Wales.
He said it included keeping your distance from others, washing your hands frequently, maintaining good indoor ventilation and air circulation, and adding, "And when we need to go out, we wear a face mask when we're in public places."
When asked if he recommends that people wear face masks in all outdoor public areas, Mr. Gething said, “No, because we should distance ourselves socially from other people.
“But this is about the realization that when you are out in public, when you go indoors, when you run a grocery store, when you go to places you can go, then it's a reminder for people to wear a face mask while doing this.
“I see a number of people who have them when I go to different parts of the city that I live in because they go to one store and another.
"When you go to more than one to do your essential business, it's easier for someone to keep their face-coverings."
He added, “The general advice we give remains unchanged. But this is part of what we can all do to protect ourselves, to keep our defenses up, and to wear face covering when possible. I think it is a good thing to reaffirm this message. & # 39;
A Welsh government spokesman said Mr Gething's comments did not change the Welsh government guidance which states: “Wearing face coverings outdoors where virus transmission is low is not recommended unless social distancing of two meters is impossible. & # 39;
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