Author Topic: Asda issues new face mask rules in statement after complaints from shoppers  (Read 319 times)

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Asda issues new face mask rules in statement after complaints from shoppers

The supermarket issued a statement after a customer complained that not enough people were wearing face coverings at her local store. Face coverings are mandatory in shops

By Jess Molyneux & Jamie Hawkins

21:02, 14 AUG 2020Updated21:39, 14 AUG 2020

Asda has clarified its rules on wearing face masks in stores after a shopper complained.  Shopper Eve Whitty was left "fuming" with Asda's response to her complaints regarding face masks in her local store.  She said she "couldn't believe how many people weren't wearing masks" at the supermarket and went to raise her concerns with a member of staff.  Eve also approached a group of men who she described as being in their twenties to ask why they were not wearing face masks and the following day she emailed a complaint to Asda, reports the Liverpool Echo.  Eve has said she just wanted to highlight her concerns and was frustrated with Asda's response that they are "encouraging" customers to wear a face covering.  Asda said they are doing all they can to remind customers to follow the rules but ultimately it is up to police to enforce them.  Eve visited the Huyton store on July 31 for one of the first times in months after she had been shopping online for herself and for her elderly relatives.  She said: "I said to a member of staff excuse me could I smoke in the store and she said you can't do that in the store.  I said if I was smoking in here you would stop me so why isn't it the same for face masks and they said there was nothing they could do about it. I was absolutely fuming."

Out of curiosity, Eve then approached three men and asked if masks were mandatory and they said yes, so she questioned why they weren't wearing them.  One shopper allegedly said they had breathing difficulties, so Eve asked why their friends weren't wearing them, before deciding to walk away.  The following day, Eve emailed Asda to complain as she has visited other shops were customers have been turned away unless they are exempt.  But she said her biggest issue was the use of the word "encouraging" in part of Asda's response.  In the email, Asda said: "We are strongly encouraging all customers to wear a face covering when they visit our stores.  We also have signs at the entrance to the store and on the shelf edges to encourage customers to wear a face covering and are using Asda FM (our in-store radio) to further remind customers.  While we will do all we can to strongly encourage customers to respect the new guidelines, the responsibility for policing and enforcing them does lie with the relevant authorities."

Eve said she wants to see Asda become more stricter and doesn't want bigger stores or customers to get complacent.  She said her relatives are worried to go shopping as a result and that now she is only going to shop in stores when it's "extremely necessary."

Eve said: "Theyíre [my relatives] frightened to go out. The thought of what I told them about Asda has made them worried to go in there.  The word that cuts me up is encourage. Itís mandatory.  It's fine for young people I know some have medical issues but if they don't it may not be a big thing for them.  But for older people it's not fair. There are people who've had to shield for four months.  Itís gotten me down. Some people arenít taking it that seriously."

Guidelines say that people working in shops do not have to wear a face covering, but that customers should do so.  Asda said it strongly encourages this through colleague reminders, clear posters and signage along with regular announcements over Asda FM.  And are still encouraging customers to remain two metres apart. The official guidance from the government suggests that is should be 1m+.  An Asda spokesperson said: "Throughout the pandemic our customers have embraced many new rules to help keep everyone safe in our stores, and we are confident they will continue to show care and consideration for each other by wearing a face covering when they visit our stores.  Whilst we will do all we can to strongly encourage customers to wear a face-covering inside our stores, it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police the new rules."