Monday, 10 May 2021

Family shopping trips to supermarkets 'could be banned' under new rules

Families may be banned from doing their food shopping together, as part of new plans to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Under tougher plans reportedly being considered by ministers, supermarkets could be encouraged to implement a ‘shop alone’ policy amid concerns that trips to the local store are being seen as a family ‘outings’.

Supermarket bosses may be ordered to install more hand sanitising stations – rather than just at the entrance – along with clearer social distancing signs to stop trolley jams in the aisles.

Current Government guidelines state that people may leave home to ‘shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person’ but it does not specify a limit on the amount of people you can shop with.

A senior Whitehall source told The Sun: ‘We’re looking at ways to make supermarkets as safe as possible for both shoppers and the people who work there.

‘It’s clear that some customers see the visit as a bit of an outing. The whole family goes together and they end up talking to friends who they bumps into while there. 

‘Often, there’s no reason why one household member can’t do the shopping.’

The minister added that people should only visit supermarkets to buy essentials and they should not be going in groups, as increasingly long shopping queues appear outside megastores.

All supermarkets could also be forced to ban shoppers who do not wear a face mask and do not have a medical exemption.

Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi and M&S have already made face masks compulsory in their stores and warned security will be on-hand to enforce the rule.

Meanwhile, in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced new measures for supermarkets due to ‘significant evidence’ that coronavirus is spreading among customers and staff.

Other ministers are said to be pushing back on stricter rules in English supermarkets as staff are already tasked with enforcing the rules, with some complaining they have received abuse from shoppers refusing to follow them.

One worker from a superstore in Leeds said: ‘Most come shopping with two or three members of the household, many without masks, and I’ve even had some customers come in recently to say they don’t need shopping and have just come out for a chat.’

He added: ‘As a staff member it’s annoying to see people thinking they’re above the rules and be so blatantly blase about it, but when you see an elderly person on their own with a mask on saying they’re scared to be there, that’s when it really upsets me.’

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