Retailers have asked customers to continue to wear face coverings in store despite the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
The decision to remove restrictions in England on 19 July has attracted criticism from the retail industry concerned about the impact on staff from both a health and logistics point of view. As well as being more at risk from Covid-19, staff having to self-isolate could put more pressure on businesses.
To help ensure retailers and staff follow proper procedures, the Association of Convenience Stores has published guidance for shop workers that have to self-isolate.
This comes as two-thirds of adults in Great Britain said they will still wear face coverings in shops despite no longer being legally obliged to.
According to research published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 64% of adults said they will still wear the coverings after 19 July, dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, face coverings continue to be required in shops.
The research also found that more than half (57%) of adults in Great Britain said they are worried about the plan to remove legal restrictions. This includes one-fifth (20%) who are very worried.
Major multiple retailers are encouraging customers to continue to wear masks but have said they will not bar those that don’t.
Independent retailers took to social media to advise shoppers to wear masks in store to help protect other customers and staff.
From Monday 19th July the rules relating to Covid safety are changing. We’re keeping some guidelines in place to help maintain a safe shopping environment. Thank you for your patience and continued support as we work together to protect the wellbeing and safety of our community pic.twitter.com/EmDp4CDwCC— Proudfoot Supermarkets (@ProudfootGroup) July 18, 2021
Despite the change in rules tomorrow we request customers to:— Jays Budgens (@JaysBudgens) July 18, 2021
- Wear a face covering inside the store (unless exempt)
- Respect both staff/customers space
- Sanitise your hands when entering the store pic.twitter.com/6m7U68hIHK
With the UK Gov Covid rules changing Monday 19th July, we ask those who are able to wear a mask or face covering to continue to do so in our store.— Budgens of East Finchley (@budgensn2) July 18, 2021
This helps us protect everyone, particularly those in our community that are more vulnerable.
Thank you. pic.twitter.com/dbMmjVYTvY
We're a small village shop in an enclosed space. For the health of staff & customers alike (following government guidance), the committee has decided that both customers & staff continue wearing masks in the Shop. Only 2 customers into the Shop and 4 in the Gallery. Thank you pic.twitter.com/RFvwsA2MGR— Itteringham Shop (@ItteringhamShop) July 18, 2021
Meanwhile Premier Morley in Leeds is putting a more positive spin on the situation while encouraging customers to social distance, use sanitiser and coverings.