LONDON – Britain’s biggest supermarket group will encourage employees and customers to wear face coverings from Monday, although new rules have made it a matter of personal preference.
The government is easing most pandemic restrictions in England from 19 July, saying the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has broken the link between mass infection and serious illness or death.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Aldi all said they would prefer employees and customers to wear masks.
The group – which are among Britain’s largest private sector employers – said they would put in place other safety measures, including the number of people in shops, protective screens at checkouts and regular cleaning.
“We are asking our customers and colleagues to stay safe,” said Tesco, Britain’s largest supermarket group.
An opinion poll published on Thursday by Kantar Public found that two-thirds wanted some, most, or all of the coronavirus restrictions to remain in place, and 60 percent thought everyone should continue to wear masks in shops and on public transport.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged that a wave of infections is inevitable when restrictions are lifted, but said keeping the economy shut would cause worse damage and pointed to a successful vaccine rollout.
The government recommends that people still wear masks in crowded areas. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said they would remain mandatory on the capital’s public transport network.
by James Dewey