Coronavirus: Morrisons bans shoppers not wearing face masks
- Credit: Archant � 2009
Morrisons has said customers who refuse to wear face masks in store without a medical exception will be told to leave their supermarkets.
The government made wearing face masks compulsory in shops after the relaxation of the first national lockdown last year.
However, it has been down to stores about how they enforce the rule.
Many said that while they strongly encourage customers to wear masks, they would not ask staff to directly challenge people.
But now, Morrisons chief executive David Potts has said: "Those who are offered a face covering and decline to wear one won't be allowed to shop at Morrisons unless they are medically exempt.
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"Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind."
Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said he wanted to "applaud the action Morrisons has taken".
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He said: "That's the right approach and I want to see all parts of society playing their part in this."
Tesco and Sainsbury's said safety remains their "highest priority" and that customers were given regular reminders to follow the rules.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said: "We continue to have a range of measures in place to keep customers and colleagues safe in our stores.
"We have greeters outside our supermarkets and busy convenience stores to limit the number of customers coming into stores and continue to remind customers to wear face coverings and shop alone if they are able to.
"We also have posters and regular Tannoy announcements."
Tesco said it was still enforcing social distancing practices in store but was not looking yet at reintroducing measures such as one-way aisles.
"The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we already have extensive social distancing measures in our stores to ensure everyone can shop safely with us," the store said on Twitter.
"We are asking all our customers to wear a face covering when visiting our stores and have prominent signs in place to inform customers of the rules.
"However, there may be some customers who are unable to wear a face covering for medical or safety reasons and we have asked our colleagues to respect that and to not challenge them directly."
Prime minister Boris Johnson also said: "We need to enforce rules in supermarkets.
He added: "In supermarkets, people need to be keeping their distance, making sure that they're wearing masks, doing the right thing.
"When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much."