Lockdown easing: Supermarket shopping rules from July 19 – ‘we are reviewing’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out the likely shape of step four last night, in England’s roadmap out of lockdown. Planned for July 19, rules include wearing face coverings and social distancing guidelines will weaken.

Boris Johnson said we must “balance the risk” of the disease from the virus and the harm continuing with legal restrictions which “inevitably take their toll on people’s lives and livelihoods, on people’s health and mental health.

“We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves ‘when will we be able to return to normal?’

“To those who say we should delay again – the alternative to that is to open up in winter when the virus will have an advantage, or not at all this year.”

However, even with the easing of lockdown rules, people may still be asked to wear a face covering in supermarkets.

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This is because businesses can set their own rules while remaining mindful of equality law.

This led to the new rules being heavily criticised due to there being a patchwork of different rules in different settings, which some said would be extremely confusing.

What does this mean for supermarkets?

Many retailers are still yet to announce what their rules will be from July 19.

Supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda currently asks for shoppers to socially distance and be mindful of other customers in-store.

Under the easing of restrictions, this could be scrapped, seeing more customers in supermarkets at any one time.

Currently, supermarket shoppers must social distance from other customers, sanitise their hands as well as being encouraged to pay via card.

In yesterday’s press conference, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty suggested masks should be worn as a “common courtesy”.

Boris Johnson added that they would not be needed unless in a crowded indoor space like a train carriage.

The news sparked debate on social media, with thousands of Britons explaining that they will still wear masks.

One person said: “I will definitely still be wearing my mask wherever I go after July 19, I feel safer with it now.”

The post gained more than 20,000 likes with thousands agreeing that they would still be wearing face coverings.

Another wrote: “I couldn’t think of anything worse than standing in a supermarket queue with no one wearing masks, it wouldn’t feel right.”

“There are thousands of new cases each day, use a little bit of common sense and still wear your mask,” a third explained.

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