And that has now led Asda to release a rules statement.
On July 31, Eve Whitty returned to Huyton Asda, Merseyside for shopping for one of the first times in months after shopping online for herself and her elderly parents.
Upon arrival, Eve said she “couldn’t believe how many people weren’t wearing masks” and went to share her concerns with a member of staff.
Eve later said she also contacted a group of men she described as being in their twenties to ask why they weren’t wearing face masks and the next day she sent Asda a complaint.
Eve said she just wanted to stress her concerns and was frustrated with Asda’s response that they “encouraged” customers to cover their faces.
Asda said it does everything it can to remind customers to follow the rules, but ultimately it’s up to the police to enforce them.
Eve told the Liverpool Echo: “I told a staff member, excuse me if I could smoke in the store and she said you can’t do that in the store.
“I said if I smoked here you would stop me so why isn’t it the same for face masks and they said there was nothing to be done about it.
Out of curiosity Eve then approached three men and asked them if the masks were mandatory and they said yes, so she asked why they weren’t wearing them.
One buyer reportedly said they had trouble breathing, so Eve asked why their friends weren’t wearing them, before saying she decided to leave.
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The next day, Eve emailed Asda to complain that she visited other stores where customers were turned away unless they were exempt.
But she said her biggest problem was the use of the word “encourage” in part of Asda’s response.
In the email seen by Liverpool Echo, Asda said: “We strongly encourage all customers to wear a face mask when visiting our stores.
“We also have signs at the entrance to the store and around the edges of the shelves to encourage customers to wear a face mask and we use Asda FM (our in-store radio) to remind customers more.
“While we do everything we can to strongly encourage customers to adhere to the new guidelines, the responsibility for the police and their enforcement lies with the appropriate authorities. ”
Eve said, “They are [my relatives] afraid to go out. The thought of what I told them about Asda worried them to go.
“The word that cuts me off is encourage. It is mandatory.
“It’s good for young people – I know some have health issues – but if they don’t, it might not be a big deal for them.
“But for the elderly, it’s not fair. There are people who had to protect themselves for four months.
“It depressed me. Some people don’t take it seriously. ”
The guidelines say people working in stores do not have to wear face coverings, but customers should.
Asda said it strongly encourages this through fellow reminders, clear posters and signage as well as regular announcements on Asda FM.
And always encourage customers to stay two meters from each other. Official government guidelines suggest it should be 1m +.
A spokesperson for Asda said: “Throughout the pandemic, our customers have adopted many new rules to keep everyone safe in our stores, and we are confident that they will continue to demonstrate care and consideration for each other by wearing a face mask when visiting our stores. .
“While we will do our utmost to strongly encourage customers to wear face masks inside our stores, it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to enforce the new rules. ”
Further information can be found on Asda’s Covid blog which has a video from CEO Roger Burnley on advice for clients and colleagues. For more information, click here