All supermarkets should make people wear face masks or ban them, warns minister – but cops say they can’t enforce
ALL supermarkets should make people wear face masks or ban them from entry, the policing minister has said.
Kit Malthouse heaped praise on Morrisons for making people wear masks in their stores as he directed other shops to do the same, claiming cops have a “big enough job” policing rules outdoors.
Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
All supermarkets should ban anyone who refuses to wear a face masks, according to a Government minister[/caption]
It follows concerns too few people are following the rules, as the Cabinet is set to meet this morning and decide whether tough measures are needed.
Mr Malthouse warned “a small minority of people are flouting the rules, not taking it seriously, and it will cost people their lives”.
Rulebreakers also risked extending the lockdown, Mr Malthouse said.
“If we’re going to make sure this is the last lockdown, and please, God, it is, we all need to stick by the rules and take it really, very seriously.”
Pictures today showed a handful of shoppers at a Morrisons in Witham, where the security guard failed to challenge people not wearing face masks.
He said it was incredibly important supermarkets step up to the table and enforce mask wearing in their stores, accusing them of having “relaxed” after the November lockdown.
“I’ve been to the supermarket just like you, and it was certainly the case that in some of the lockdowns, supermarkets were operating traffic light systems, they had somebody at the door to make sure you were wearing a mask, there were sanitising tables,” he told Sky News.
“Now, I think for natural reasons, I think that has relaxed a bit, and I think what you’ll find is particularly supermarkets put those things in place, we know 99 per cent of people will comply.
But the policing minister said cops would not be called to make people wear face masks, pushing the burden onto supermarkets to step up enforcement.
“What we say is we hope there will be compliance and that businesses and other organisations, local authorities, will help us all to comply, by reminding us.
“The police have a big job to do enforcing the regulations out in the open air, what we’re asking is that shop owners help us.”
Mr Malthouse said he hoped there wouldn’t be a surge in fines, but told rule-breakers cops would be “quicker to move to enforcement”.
Last night, Matt Hancock also said Morrison’s had taken the right decision to step up enforcement.
He told a Downing Street press conference: “I applaud the step Morrison’s has taken today. I want to see all parts of society playing a part in this.”
And the Health Secretary warned over the weekend that there would be a crack down on stores who were failing to follow social distancing rules, including making people queue outside to keep people in shops to a minimum.
But the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has pushed back at Mr Malthouse’s demands, saying they need the polices help to make people wear masks.
Both Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s have said they will ban anyone who refuses to wear a mask without an exemption.
And Sainsbury’s has even hired security guards for their stores to make sure people are following the rules.
People continued to ignore ministers’ pleas to stop breaking the rules[/caption]
Matt Hancock heaped praise on supermarkets for stepping up and enforcing social distancing[/caption]
Morrison’s has said they would ban people who don’t wear face masks[/caption]
Police will move to hand out fines faster than in previous lockdowns[/caption]
Director of food and sustainability at the BRC, Andrew Opie, said: “While enforcement of face coverings is the responsibility of the police, retailers continue to do what they can to encourage their use throughout stores.”
But he warned there had been a “sharp rise” in incidents of violence and abuse against shop workers.
“Which is why it is essential police support the work being done by retailers,” Mr Opie said.
Mr Malthouse also failed to address concerns over the police’s overzealous interpretation of the rules, after two women were fined for going for a walk with a coffee five miles from their home – but the PM was able to cycle seven miles from Downing Street.
Most read in News
He said “stay local” means “if you can get their under your own steam”.
But London’s police chief Cressida Dick said a definition of “stay local” would help cops enforce the rules.
“Anything that brings greater clarity for officers and the public in general will be a good thing,” she said this morning.