Waitrose bans shoppers without masks and John Lewis scraps click-and-collect

Waitrose has said without a mask, shoppers won’t be welcome

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Waitrose has said staff will stop customers from shopping who refuse to wear a mask in stores, unless medically exempt.

The upmarket chain joins supermarkets Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda in barring people who won't cover their faces in line with Government rules.

Bosses at Waitrose parent company, the John Lewis Partnership, also said it would end click-and-collect services based within John Lewis department stores to avoid non-essential travel and in-home services will be carried out only if "essential" to customers' wellbeing.

Andrew Murphy, group operations director at the John Lewis Partnership, said: "We've listened carefully to the clear change in tone and emphasis of the views and information shared by the UK's governments in recent days.

"While we recognise that the detail of formal guidance has not changed, we feel it is right for us – and in the best interests of our Partners and customers – to take proactive steps to further enhance our Covid security and related operational policies.

"By insisting on the wearing of face coverings, over and above the social distancing measures we already have in place, we aim to make our shops even safer for customers."

John Lewis said it would stop doing click and collect too
(Image: Graham Young / BirminghamLive)

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So far only Sainsbury's and Morrisons have said they will eject customers who are caught rule breaking in shops, while Asda and Tesco said they would bar people entry.

Sainsbury's 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."

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."

Customers will have to wear a mask to go inside, Waitrose said
(Image: Getty Images)

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It came as a police chief said officers will be on stand-by to help with dissenters who become "aggressive" in supermarkets.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said London officers are prepared to assist supermarket staff if customers become "obstructive and aggressive" when told they must wear a face covering.

Her comments came as supermarket workers spoke of the difficulties in getting proof from customers who claim they are exempt from wearing a mask, while others have suffered abuse from shoppers after asking them to follow the rules.

A Tesco worker from Gloucestershire said she was "horrified" by reactions she had received after challenging customers, adding: "I find, and so do my colleagues, that it's not as strict as the first lockdown."

A staff member at an Asda store in north-west Merseyside said: "I used to ask people on the front door for proof of exemption and the abuse I got was mostly from the younger generation.

"My manager told me we have to offer them a mask but can't enforce it so I feel it's a waste of time."

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