Tesco and Asda are the latest supermarkets to be taking a tougher stance on customers who refuse to wear face covering without a medical exception and begs customers to be respectful of staff.
The cooperative didn’t confirm whether it would ban customers without masks, but said it would increase their messages in store.
It came when a police chief said officials will be on standby to help dissidents who become “aggressive” in supermarkets.
On Tuesday, Tesco announced that customers who do not wear face-covering will not be allowed into stores unless they are exempt from tax according to government guidelines that have asked customers to be “friendly, patient and to be respectful ”.
A spokesman said: “We also ask our customers to shop alone, unless they are carers or with children.
“To support our colleagues, we will have extra security in the stores to manage this.”
An Asda spokesman repeated Tesco’s calls to customers and treated employees with respect. “If a customer has forgotten their face mask, we will continue to offer them free one.
“However, should a customer refuse to wear coverage for no valid medical reason and challenge our colleagues in any way, our security colleagues will refuse entry.”
They are the latest in supermarkets banning maskless shoppers after Morrisons announced that it would force customers to wear masks unless they are medically exempt, while Sainsbury’s said security guards at the entrances will “challenge” shoppers who don’t Wear face covering or step into stores in groups.
When asked if co-op food stores will take similar steps, CEO Jo Whitfield said that all customers “must take responsibility for wearing a face mask”.
She said, “We have expanded our in-store messages to remind customers, and government policy is that the police can take action if members of the public fail to comply with this law.”
City Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said London officials are ready to help supermarket staff if customers become “obstructive and aggressive” when told to wear face covering.
Their comments came as supermarket workers spoke of the difficulty of obtaining evidence from customers claiming they were exempt from wearing a mask while others were mistreated by shoppers after asking them to obey the rules.
A Tesco employee from Gloucestershire said she was “horrified” by the response she received after challenging customers, adding, “I think, and so do my colleagues, it’s not as strict as the first one Lock. “
An employee of an Asda store in northwest Merseyside said, “I used to ask people on the doorstep for exemption, and the abuse I got was mostly from the younger generation.
“My manager told me that we had to offer them a mask, but that we couldn’t enforce it. I think that’s a waste of time.”
Police Minister Kit Malthouse said he believes all supermarkets should follow in Morrison’s footsteps, suggesting that some stores have become neglected with security measures.
He said on Times Radio, “I think that after the lockdown in November there was understandably an element of release and therefore the person at the door, the sanitary facility, the traffic light system and the queues outside have obviously decreased somewhat.
“What we hope now and I know that you will all do it, that you will recognize your responsibility and begin to get these things back into position.”
When asked if the police should intervene, he said that some retail officials have fined, adding, “We hope the vast majority of people or everyone will be encouraged by the shopkeeper.”