Rival grocer Morrisons (LON:MRW) said yesterday it would ban shoppers not wearing masks from its outlets, while Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) is to bring in security guards to challenge those not wearing coverings or shopping in groups.
Tesco said that it already has extensive social distancing measures in its stores and asks all customers to wear masks when entering its stores.
“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.”
A surge in the number of cases of Covid-19 in the UK has already prompted Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, to warn that the country is at the worst point of the pandemic so far.
Reports over the weekend suggested a further tightening of restrictions is being considered by the government to try to halt the rising tide of deaths and infections.
That might include a ban on click and collect services everywhere except for essential retailers to stop people queuing too closely together while waiting to pick up items such as takeaways and online purchases.
A requirement for everyone to wear face coverings when they go outside is another option under consideration.
Underlining the difficult balancing act facing the government, Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, warned today that the latest Coviid-19 lockdown had put the economy in a very difficult position and the new restrictions would likely delay a recovery.
Bailey said the economy would recover but only after the lockdown had ended and worries over the spread of the virus ease.
Shares in Tesco eased 1.3% to 241.3p.