Supermarket chains Sainsbury’s and Waitrose will be asking people to continue to wear a face covering in their stores when restrictions ease in England on Thursday.
Sainsbury’s told Sky News it will continue to have a number of safety measures in its stores in an effort to keep customers and staff safe.
Its guidance will also apply to Argos and Habitat stores, which are part of the Sainsbury’s business group.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: “Safety remains our highest priority.
“From Thursday, we’re asking our customers and colleagues in England to continue to wear a face covering in our stores if they are able to.
“In Scotland and Wales face coverings remain mandatory for those who can wear them in our stores, in line with the latest government restrictions.
“We continue to have a range of safety measures in all of our stores, including screens and sanitising stations.”
Waitrose and John Lewis are “suggesting” customers and staff should wear a face covering when inside their stores.
‘We value safety of our customers’
A John Lewis spokesperson told Sky News: “We value the safety of our customers and partners and continue to follow the latest government guidelines.
“From Thursday, we’ll be suggesting people wear masks in our stores, although it will be down to individuals to make a personal choice.”
The relaxing of Plan B measures comes despite fresh warnings by scientists of a new wave of COVID cases.
The World Health Organisation’s special envoy on the virus told Sky News this week COVID has still got a “long, long way” to go and is “still very serious”.
COVID infections continue to remain high in the UK although are falling, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.