Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, will encourage both staff and customers to continue to wear face coverings from 19 July when new government rules state it will be a matter of personal choice, it said on Thursday.
Despite a surge in cases, the government is removing most COVID-19 restrictions from next Monday in England after a rapid vaccine rollout appeared to weaken the link between infection rates and deaths.
The Best Approach
As part of the new rules Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said people in England should use their own judgement about whether to wear masks, leading to different ministers and different public services giving different answers as to what the best approach would be.
'We’re asking our customers and colleagues to be on the safe side, and so from 19 July we’ll be encouraging our colleagues to wear face coverings whilst they work and encouraging our customers to do the same when they shop with us,' Tesco said.
On Wednesday, Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest supermarket group, announced the same policy.
Other Safety Measures
Tesco said it will continue to have other safety measures in place in stores, including limiting the number of people in store at any time, protective screens at every checkout, hand sanitiser stations and regular cleaning.
Elsewhere, in Germany retailers still support the wearing of face masks in stores as they worry about another wave of the coronavirus pandemic possibly leading to new restrictions, an industry association has said.