A number of supermarket retail bosses have spoken out to explain why they won’t be enforcing the new face mask rules in stores across the UK.
Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, and Iceland are among the retailers who say they have no plans to challenge customers over the wearing of a face covering in store, after masks once again became compulsory on public transport and shops as of yesterday as part of efforts to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant.
The compulsory wearing of face coverings is one of a handful of new measures that have been introduced in England.
The UK government says that the new measures – which were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a Downing Street news conference this past Saturday evening, and confirmed by Health Secretary Sajid Javid this week – are being taken as a “precaution to slow down the spread of the variant”
The measures will be in place while the government attempts to “gather more information”.
Budget supermarket chain Iceland was the first retailer to grab headlines yesterday after it confirmed it would not be asking customers to wear masks to stop staff members facing unwarranted abuse, with Managing Director Richard Walker telling BBC’s Radio Four Today programme that while the chain supported the reintroduction of face masks, it would be unfair to ask staff to confront people not wearing masks.
“They are already working under significant pressure, especially as we hit the busiest trading month of the year,” he said.
“I won’t be putting my staff at any risk of confrontation or abuse.”
It’s believed that Tesco – the UK’s largest supermarket chain – will only be putting signs up to remind customers about face mask rules, rather than enforcing them, which looks to be a stance echoed by Aldi and Lidl, which are also understood to have no plans to challenge customers over the next three weeks.
Sainsbury’s said it will have “greeters and security guards at the front of our supermarkets” to remind people to wear masks, while Morrisons is too expected to have staff members checking the wearing of face masks at the front of the shops.
Both Morrisons and Asda said they will be handing out masks at the front of stores to customers who have forgotten to bring them.
Industry body The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said it is up to police to enforce face mask rules, not retailers, and that incidents of physical violence aimed at retailers have increased by two thirds, with reasons mainly being around COVID-19 rules.
New COVID-19 measures
All international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status, and they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport from next week, and all hospitality settings will be exempt.
“The offender then made off on foot, leaving two women and a man he was with, behind.
“Officers believe that the suspect is possibly from the Merseyside area. If you know the man or have any information relating to the crime, please contact GMP on 101, quoting reference number INC/0075491/23.
“Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.”
Featured image: GMP
Salford police officer sacked for ‘depraved’ relationship with vulnerable woman
A police officer has been sacked after carrying out an ‘improper relationship’ with a crime victim.
Paul Banks, who worked as a PC in Salford, has been dismissed and barred after a Gross Misconduct Hearing on 24 and 25 January 2023.
In the hearing, a panel heard how Banks had advised a vulnerable woman to create an email account – which he then accessed to view images and videos, some of which were explicit, that she had uploaded.
He viewed the content more than 200 times and never reported them to his manager or the force’s Professional Standards Branch.
In the end, his own colleagues sensed that something was amiss and raised the alarm.
GMP has now slammed Banks’s ‘depraved behaviour’ and stressed that ‘there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him’.
A statement also said that he ‘abused his position of trust’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Banks knew full well that his conduct was egregiously wrong.
“By cultivating an improper relationship with a vulnerable member of the public who he met in the course of his policing duties, the officer has been deservedly sacked from GMP.
“Not only has he disgraced himself, but his depraved behaviour dishonours policing and undermines the principled endeavours of his colleagues, who everyday do a valiant job catching criminals and protecting our communities.
“Indeed, it was Banks’ own colleagues who sensed something was amiss and triggered the first step in a process that rooted him out.
“The prudence of his colleagues is to be commended and I am grateful to the IOPC for conducting an investigation that left no stone unturned.
“No decent member of the police service wants to work with the likes of Banks and there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him.
“He abused his position of trust and for that the Office of Constable has been rightly stripped from him.
“GMP is a better force without Banks and we will recruit a new officer into his post who will discharge their duties with honour and espouse the professional and compassionate values of the GMP workforce.”
Banks, who had been on restricted since the investigation began in December 2020, was dismissed without notice.