Masks in supermarkets: do you have to wear a mask in Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl from 19th July?
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Face masks are no longer mandatory in shops and on public transport from 19 July as England sets its sights on Freedom Day.
As the law changed overnight, the UK’s biggest grocery stores are leaving it up to their customers to decide if they want to wear a face mask to do their shopping.
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But the supermarket chains, including Tesco, Asda, Lidl Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, are still encouraging customers to keep their masks on as new Covid cases across England are now soaring past the 50,000-a-day mark.
Here’s what you need to know.
Do you have to still wear masks inside a supermarket?
Social-distancing rules which, in one form or another, have governed people’s lives for over a year - and finally ended on 19 July at one minute past midnight.
It now means it is no longer a legal requirement to wear a mask inside a shop but the government has replaced the law with guidance.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said workers and customers are still "expected and recommended" to wear them in crowded indoor areas – and the government’s official message is one of “personal responsibility” and “informed choice”.
Face masks are also no longer mandatory on public transport, limits on gathering have gone and the work from home guidance has also ended.
Nightclubs, theatres and restaurants can fully reopen, while pubs are no longer restricted to table service only.
Which supermarkets are keeping mask wearing in-store?
Tesco have said it wants to continue with certain measures “to be on the safe side.”
Staff and shoppers will be encouraged to keep wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, if they can.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, face coverings will remain mandatory unless exempt, as set out in government guidance.
Tesco stores are also keeping enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures in place, like hand sanitiser at entrances.
Asda is going to continue supplying face coverings at the front of the store for people who forget to bring their own mask.
A spokesman said: “We encourage customers to be respectful to each other and to follow the government guidance on face coverings when shopping in our stores after 19 July.”
A Morrisons spokeswoman said: “In England, while face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement, guidance encourages everyone to wear one in crowded areas.
"We will encourage all customers and colleagues to follow this guidance in store, to maintain social distancing and to exercise their own judgement. We will also continue to offer a free face covering to any customer or colleague who may have forgotten theirs.”
Protective screens and sanitising stations will remain in place in all stores.
In Scotland and Wales face coverings remain a legal requirement and from Monday, a 1 metre social distancing rule in Scotland and 2 metre social distancing rule in Wales will apply.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s has said wearing a face covering becomes a personal choice in England from 19 July - but the store will still encourage shoppers to continue to wear a face mask, if they can.
The retailer plans to keep screens between customers and colleagues at checkouts, hand sanitiser stations and all strict cleaning regimes.
Waitrose is recommending that their customers in England continue to wear a face covering, unless they are exempt.
The decision over whether to do so or not, when in their shops, will be for each individual to take, based on their own judgement.
In Scotland and Wales Waitrose says it will follow legislation which requires customers to continue to wear masks, unless exempt.
Lidl is going to keep signs at its store entrances reminding its customers that the government expects shoppers to wear masks in crowded areas.
Masks will still be available to pick up at the store entrances to then purchase at the till when you complete your shop.
Wearing a face covering in Scotland and Wales stores is still mandatory in line with government regulations.
From 19 July, Aldi staff will continue to encourage customers and colleagues to wear face coverings when they're in store.
Other measures like hand sanitiser and screens will also stay in place. Face masks are still required for customers and colleagues in their Welsh and Scottish stores, in line with the latest guidance.