Supermarkets Opposing the New Face Mask Rule In England

Supermarkets Opposing the New Face Mask Rule In England


  • A new rule has been enforced by the British Government making it compulsory for the citizens to wear a face cover from 24 July 2020
  • Sainsbury’s and Asda have joined different shops including Costa Coffee saying they are not obligated to 'police' clients
  • A face covering is strongly encouraged in public spaces such as banks, post offices, shops, and supermarkets

Few prominent retail chains have said that they will not be enforcing the wearing of face covers as the new guidelines for the same came into power in England. The grocery stores have joined different shops, including Costa Coffee, saying they are not obligated to 'police' clients. New rules mean covers must be worn in shops and the ones not abiding by the law in England will have to confront a £100 fine. The fine will reduce to half in case it is paid within a two-week period. As per the new guidelines, people would be violating the law by not wearing masks at the banks, post offices, malls, takeaways, and shops. In any case, a few retailers have clearly stated that they do not expect to police the laws, which comes into existence from 24 July 2020.

Sainsbury's has requested its staff to keep playing their part in assisting the customers to follow the new rules, but they will not be liable to enforce the same. Asda firmly urged its customers to wear a face covering, however, included that the relevant government authorities must police and implement the new guidelines. The same should not be expected from the retail chain.

Starting this Friday, face covers have become obligatory throughout all the shops in England, and even while purchasing food or drinks to take away. However, Sainsbury's, Asda and Costa Coffee are among those who state they won't punish clients who neglect to wear them. The individuals who ridicule the new guideline, which applies to shops, malls, banks, takeaways, post workplaces, sandwich shops and stores, should be liable to pay the hefty fine. The rule said that neglecting to wear a face mask on public transport shall also attract the same fine, of £100.

However, there are worries about how the law will be upheld, with both the retailers and the police authorities having reported a lack of resources.

The England Police Authorities, on the other hand, have requested the retail chains to say no to people not wearing a face mask, for entering their stores.

A face covering is something which securely covers the nose and mouth, and it quite essential with regards to the coronavirus (COVID-19) flare-up. Face covers, to a great extent, are planned to ensure others, not the wearer, against the spread of disease since they cover the nose and mouth, which are the affirmed source of transmission of infection-causing coronavirus disease.

People are expected to wear a face-covering immediately before entering public transport, indoor transport hubs, shops and supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, and post offices, and must keep it on until they leave. Wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing might be difficult. They are also required in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. It is also advisable to wear in care homes.

It can be removed when eating and drinking, while taking away an order, if necessary. It can also be removed in case a shop or supermarket has a café or seating area for eating and drinking.

The Association of Convenience Stores, which has membership of more than 30,000 local shops across England, has also advised its members not to challenge their customers, as it might lead to ill-treatment of the shop staff.

Let us now take a look at the stock price movement of few large retail chains in the UK.

J Sainsbury PLC (LON: SBRY) stock was trading at GBX 191.05, up by 0.55 per cent from its previous close, on 24 July 2020. The 52-week low/high price was GBX 174.95/235.80. It was having a market capitalisation (Mcap) of £4,220.82 million. The company recorded a negative return on price, which was 17.69 per cent on a YTD (Year to Date) basis. Sainsbury's, as mentioned above, will simply try and encourage its customers to wear face-masks, without enforcing any rule for the same.

Greggs PLC (LON: GRG) stock was trading at GBX 1,481.00, down by 1.73 per cent from its previous close, on 24 July 2020. The 52-week low/high price was GBX 1,300.00/2,442.00. It was having a market capitalisation (Mcap) of £1,524.42 million. The company recorded a negative return on price, which was 37.67 per cent on a YTD (Year to Date) basis. It will be essential for customers to wear a face-covering in Greggs.

Tesco PLC (LON: TSCO) stock was trading at GBX 220.70, up by 2.18 per cent from its previous close, on 24 July 2020. The 52-week low/high price was GBX 211.20/258.90. It was having a market capitalisation (Mcap) of £21,153.95 million. The company recorded a negative return on price, which was 13.72 per cent on a YTD (Year to Date) basis. In order to help in keeping the staffs safe in-store and in accordance with the latest government guidance, customers will be required to wear face coverings while shopping from 24 July. Tesco has said that it will also make the face coverings available for purchase in-store and online.

Also Read: Retail Sales Volume and Value Increases in the Month of June in the UK


In order to stop the spread of Coronavirus disease, wearing a face mask becomes essential. Government has enforced a new rule of wearing face coverings in England from 24 July 2020. However, prominent supermarket chains including Sainsbury, Asda, and Costa Coffee have said that they will not be forcing their customers to wear face covers, as the new rules came in effect. It is yet to be seen how effectively will the city’s police machinery be able to enforce this tough rule.


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