Sainsbury’s issues face mask update ahead of Plan B rule changes
Sainsbury’s has issued an update on the wearing of face masks inside its stores ahead of Plan B rules ending in England.
The Prime Minister confirmed last week that Covid restrictions brought in to tackle the Omicron variant at the end of last year can be eased following a decline in cases.
England will move to Plan A from Thursday (27 January), meaning face masks will no longer be required to be worn by law in all settings.
The government said guidance will still suggest that face coverings be considered in enclosed or crowded spaces, but people will not be criminalised for choosing not to wear one.
Ahead of the new rules taking effect this week, Sainsbury’s has said it will still recommend that shoppers and staff wear face masks inside its stores across England, unless they have a medical exemption.
In an update to shoppers, the supermarket 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."
What rules are changing on 27 January?
As well as changes to face mask rules, Covid passes will also be scrapped from 27 January.
This means that people will no longer be asked to show proof of their vaccination status or a recent negative test to gain entry into nightclubs and other large venues and events.
However, the government has said some may continue asking for one on a voluntary basis.
The Department for Education will also remove national guidance on the use of face coverings in communal areas of schools, but masks could still be required in the event of coronavirus outbreaks, at the approval of Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.
Work-from-home guidance in England has already been relaxed to allow people to return to offices, and the requirement to wear face masks in school classrooms was dropped last Wednesday.
The legal requirement to self-isolate if you have Covid-19 is still in place and will not expire until 24 March, meaning people must continue to quarantine if they test positive.
Mr Johnson said he is hoping to bring this date forward if the data allows.