Face mask policy: Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S update rules as guidance changes

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Most shoppers in the UK will need to remember a face covering when visiting the supermarkets. As the guidance is continually reviewed, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer have given the latest updates on the rules.

Face coverings in supermarkets became mandatory in Scotland on July 10.

From August 10, customers in Northern Ireland have also been required to wear them while shopping.

In England, wearing a face covering became essential on July 24 and the rules have just been updated.

Previously, customers could get fines of £100 for not wearing a covering, which was reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

As lockdown restrictions continue to relax, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now increased the fine for repeat offenders.

Those who are caught refusing to wear a face covering on numerous occasions could be hit with fines as high as £3,200.

What is the latest guidance from supermarkets?


Posting on Twitter, Tesco said: “To help keep you and our colleagues safe in-store and reflect the latest government guidance, customers will be required to wear face coverings while shopping from Friday, 24 July.

“Face coverings will be available to purchase in-store and online.”

Those who arrive at stores without a mask can pick one up at the entrance and pay for it before departing.

Signs have been placed at the front of stores to remind customers of the rules.


Asda has constantly updated shopping rules based on the government guidance.

Most stores have members of staff at the entrance to check that face coverings are being worn by all shoppers.

A statement explained: “Throughout the pandemic our customers have embraced many new rules to help keep everyone safe in our stores.

“We are confident they will continue to show care and consideration for each other by wearing a face covering when they visit our stores.

“Whilst we will do all we can to strongly encourage customers to wear a face covering inside our stores, it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules.”

Marks & Spencer

Face masks will be enforced for those shopping in Marks & Spencer clothing and Foodhall stores in the areas where they are compulsory.

The retailer said: “Where it is mandatory we would ask all customers to follow this, unless they have a health condition that exempts them. Where government guidance is that M&S colleagues should wear face coverings (for example in Scotland), they will do so.

“As with customers, the government has made exemptions for some colleagues.”


The retailer has taken a compassionate stance on face coverings and will not ask all shoppers to wear them.

However, Sainsbury’s expects customers to do so unless they have a medical reason not to.

A post on Twitter read: “We won’t be challenging customers without a mask when they enter or when they are in store since they may have a reason not to wear a mask.”

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