Morrisons and Sainsbury’s supermarkets are enforcing the wearing of face masks in-store as they seek to protect customers and staff against Covid-19.
Sainsbury’s has said it will also place trained security guards at store entrances to challenge those not wearing a mask and those who were shopping in groups.
The measures come at a time of rising Coronavirus cases across the UK during the third lockdown, with rates in the Liverpool City Region particularly high.
Covid-19 cases in Sefton have now risen above 1,000 per 100,000 for the first time with our area now double the national average.
There were 1,018 cases per 100,000 people in the latest week 1 January to 7 January. The average area in England had 531.
Sainsbury’s operates a store on Great George’s Place, just off Lord Street, in Southport town centre, while Morrisons is based on Lord Street in Southport town centre.
Simon Roberts, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “I’ve spent a lot of time in our stores reviewing the latest situation over the last few days and on behalf of all my colleagues, I am asking our customers to help us keep everyone safe.
“The vast majority of customers are shopping safely, but I have also seen some customers trying to shop without a mask and shopping in larger family groups.
“Please help us to keep all our colleagues and customers safe by always wearing a mask and by shopping alone.
“Everyone’s care and consideration matters now more than ever.”
Morrisons shoppers who refuse to wear a mask without a medical exemption will now be told to leave stores.
Chief executive David Potts said those who flout the rules will be refused entry unless they are medically exempt.
In a plea urging customers to “be kind”, he said members of the public and staff on the front line should not be put at risk.
He 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.”
It comes after union Usdaw revealed it has been “inundated” with complaints from members who say they are “deeply concerned” for their safety as members of the public flout in-store Covid measures.
Usdaw urged supermarkets and food retailers to revert to “stringent” restrictions and said that staff – who are classed as key workers – must be “valued, respected and protected”.