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Several supermarkets have said they won’t be enforcing the new face mask rules

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Alex Watson

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Several supermarkets have revealed they will not be questioning customers who don’t wear a mask from July 24th. 

The news comes as shop bosses have warned staff to turn a blind eye to customers who refuse to wear masks, due to fears they will be assaulted. 

From tomorrow, July 24th, shoppers will have to wear face masks or coverings in shops (including takeaways and coffee shops when taking food and drink away). 

The Association of Convenience Stores has said: “We have advised members not to challenge customers unwilling to wear a covering.”

Greater Manchester Police has confirmed they will only enforce wearing a mask ‘where necessary’.

Supermarkets have indicated that they will advise customers to wear coverings but many shoppers were confused as to how they will impose the new rules.

 Most shops have said they will provide posters at store entrances to remind shoppers it is compulsory.

Tesco has gone one step further and will be implementing face mask stands at entrances, so shoppers who have forgotten their mask can pick one up, put it on for their shop and pay at the checkout. Tesco has not put an enforcement policy in place. 

Sainsbury’s tweeted yesterday that it will not be challenging customers who do not wear a mask. 

Co-op said: “It is the responsibility of all non-exempt customers to ensure they are in adherence with the new legal requirements,” but added that their staff will not question those not wearing a face mask. 

Aldi sent an email to reassure customers that while they need to wear face coverings as per the new legislation in Aldi stores, they are available for purchase in every Aldi store and the ‘comprehensive safety measures in place’ at the start of the pandemic are ‘very much in place’. 

Waitrose has broken their silence with a simple tweet that clearly states: “We will not refuse entry to customers with exemptions in line with government guidance.”

Lidl have also confirmed they will not be challenging customers who don’t wear a facemask, saying this should ‘only be enforced by police and council enforcement officers’. 

Iceland has confirmed that they will not be putting their staff ‘at risk’ by asking them to police customers who don’t wear a mask. 

Iceland’s CEO added: “The UK cannot afford a second wave, so we all need to play our part and show care and consideration for each other.”

The Association of Convenience Stores – which has 33,500 members, has urged them to turn a ‘blind eye’ to those not wearing a mask as they were concerned about the repercussions.

Chief executive James Lowman said: “We are helping retailers to communicate the rules around face coverings as widely as possible to customers, but have advised our members not to challenge customers who are unwilling to wear a face covering.

“The safety of retailers and their colleagues is our number one priority and we are keen to avoid any potential flashpoints of abuse in stores.”

Figures show there has been a 40% rise in the number of verbal and physical assaults on shopworkers throughout the lockdown. Co-op is now rolling out body-worn security cameras to help protect workers and cut down shop crime. 

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) also said the safety of staff and customers was a priority. In a statement from the Chief Executive they said: While retailers will play their part in communicating the new rules on face coverings, they must not be the ones enforcing these rules.

“With hundreds of incidents of violence and abuse directed at retail staff every day, we welcome the announcement that enforcement will be left to the authorities, rather than potentially putting hardworking retail colleagues in harm’s way.”

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Rishi Sunak to launch ‘Winter Economy Plan’ to help stop a ‘tsunami’ of job losses in coming weeks

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Alex Watson

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil an emergency Covid-19 rescue plan that aims to protect jobs. 

Following warnings from MPs and unions, the chancellor has ruled out the autumn budget and will instead launch a ‘Winter Economy Plan’, Sky News reports.

To help the economy cope with the latest restrictions, including 10pm curfews on pubs and restaurants and office staff told to work from home, the scheme will be centred around a multi-billion-pound package. 

Modelled on a similar scheme in Germany, the scheme will subsidise wages of workers who are returning to work part-time after being furloughed. 

RishiSunak/Twitter

It is also expected that the VAT cut to 5% will be extended until the end of March rather than January. 

Those hard-hit businesses are also likely to see the extension of four loan schemes until the end of November, which include terms increased from six to 10 years to reduce monthly repayments.

Mr Sunak spoke of the unusual step to not announce a November Budget because ‘now is not the right time to outline long-term plans and people want to see us focused on the here and now’.

A source told Sky News: “No-one wanted to be in this situation but we need to respond to it. The chancellor has shown he has been creative in the past and we hope that people will trust us to continue in that vein.

“Giving people reassurance and businesses the help they need to get through this is uppermost in his mind.”

They added: “It is not about health versus the economy, but about the balance between keeping people in jobs and finding them new ones, and that ‘what remains true is that our priority is one word: jobs’.”

The Treasury explained that the chancellor is promising a ‘flexible and adaptable approach to economic support, because people have needed the help and they’ve needed it quickly and at the right time’. 

Adding that he will be ‘very honest with people’ about the trade-offs the government faces as it deals with rising infection rates and an economic slump. 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds told Sky News that Labour has been: “saying for a very long time that it’s critical we have a targeted system of wage support in place”.

Dodds added: “I’ve called for that 40 times and 20 times the government has said they’re not willing to put that into place.

“Obviously, if the government has shifted, I’m pleased. It’s come very late, however. We’ve already seen a number of redundancies because of the one-size-fits-all withdrawal of the furlough scheme.”

The Prime Minister told MPs: “What we will do is continue to put our arms around the people of this country going through a very tough time and come up with the appropriate creative and imaginative schemes to keep them in work and keep the economy moving.”

Labour MP Grahame Morris demanded an expansion of the Covid Job Retention Scheme, saying: “Make no mistake: a tsunami of job losses is in the pipeline within 38 days.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer warned of a ‘wave of job losses in the winter’ because ‘it makes no sense to bring in new restrictions at the same time as phasing out support for jobs and businesses’.

The shop workers union also warned of ‘a tsunami of job losses’.

General secretary Paddy Lillis added: “If we are going to save the high street, there needs to be radical and bold action to level the playing field between online retail and ‘bricks and mortar’ shops.

“The time is long overdue for the government to look seriously at introducing some form of online sales tax.

“As a society we have a choice, do we want to see the high street go to the wall or do we want to save it.

“Retail is the cornerstone of our towns, cities and communities. It employs around three million people and needs urgent assistance to get the industry back on its feet.”

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You can be fined £200 for breaking the ‘golden rule’ in supermarkets from today

Everything you need to know…

Alex Watson

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Nickolay Romensky/Flickr & Philafrenzy/Wikimedia

If you refuse to follow supermarket’s coronavirus rules you can be fined £200 from today.

From today, Wednesday September 23rd, it is now a legal requirement for staff to wear face masks in supermarkets as well as customers.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “We will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.”

The fine for breaking this rule has now doubled, meaning you could lumped with a £200 fine for breaking it or other rules.  

Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi, sent an email to customers, asking them to be considerate when doing their shop at the store. 

He wrote in an email to shoppers: “As we continue to battle this virus together, I want to reassure you that the comprehensive safety measures we put in place in our stores at the start of the pandemic are still very much in place – and will remain so for as long as they are necessary.

“We ask that customers continue to wear a face covering when shopping with us, unless they are exempt from doing so.

“Our store colleagues will also continue to wear face coverings whilst working in store.”

Find all the updated rules here and the rules for your Greater Manchester borough here

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All the rules for each Greater Manchester borough as new restrictions are introduced

Everything you need to know…

Alex Watson

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David Dixon/Geograph

New coronavirus measures were announced this week including hospitality curfews, increased fines and new face-covering rules. 

These measures will be implemented across the nation, however Greater Manchester is still under local lockdown with its own specified restrictions. 

Below is an outline of the rules for each borough. 

Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford

  • Private gardens & homes:
    • You must not allow anyone who does not live with you (or in support bubble) inside your home or garden.
    • You must not attend someone else’s home or garden. 
  • Public spaces (indoors):
    • Customers and staff must wear a face mask inside hospitality venues unless seated to eat or drink. 
    • Pubs and bars must close at 10pm on the dot from September 24th, meaning last orders must be called at around 9:30pm.
    • Venues are now restricted to table service only (excluding takeaways) – businesses breaking these rules face a £10,000 fine. 
    • You must not socialise with those you do not live with (unless it’s a support bubble) inside public venues, including pubs, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure centres, gyms, entertainment venues or visitor attractions.
  • Outdoor public spaces: 
    • You can socialise with people in public places such as parks, in groups of no more than six people. 
  • Travel:
    • You can travel around the area, wearing a face mask on public transport and not sharing a car with people outside of your household or bubble.
    • You can travel outside the area but you cannot meet with people in their home or garden (whether that is inside or out of the area).
    • You can go on holiday but only with people you live with. In other areas of the UK you must follow the local laws and guidance at all times. 
  • Childcare:
    • Only registered childcare providers and nannies can visit your home to help with childcare. This means family and friends cannot help with childcare unless they are in your bubble.
  • Care homes: 
    • You can only visit care homes in exceptional circumstances defined by the care home itself. 
  • Weddings & funerals: 
    • Weddings will be limited to 15 people from September 28th and funerals 30 people.
  • Places of worship:  
    • You can attend places of worship if you socially distance from those you do not live with and wear a face covering when two-metre distance cannot be achieved. Where possible services should take place outside. 
  • Moving home: 
    • You can still have viewings of your home. Estate agents and removal firms can continue to work. 

Bolton

  • Homes & gardens:
    • You cannot have someone you do not live with inside your home or garden.
    • You cannot visit someone else’s home or garden whether in or outside the Bolton area. 
    • Different households must not mix anywhere inside or outside. 
  • Public spaces (indoors):
    • Hospitality venues are restricted to takeaway and delivery services only. They must close between 10pm and 5am. 
    • You cannot socialise with those you do not live with inside any public venue. 
    • You must not interact with and socially distance yourself from those outside of your household and/or bubble. 
  • Outdoor spaces:
    • You cannot meet people you do not live with outdoors in any setting.
  • Childcare:
    • Only registered childcare providers and nannies can visit your home to help with childcare. This means family and friends cannot help with childcare unless they are in your bubble.
  • Travel:
    • You can only use public transport for essential purposes such as education, work and essential appointments (hospital).
    • Face masks must be worn on all public transport and enclosed areas.
    • You should not share a car with those outside of your bubble.
    • You can still go on holiday in the UK and abroad but only with your household members and abide by rules of where you visit, including self-isolation rules when travelling to and from countries. 
  • Care homes:
    • You can only visit care homes in exceptional circumstances defined by the care home itself. 
  • Weddings & funerals:
    • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals can go ahead but with only six people.
    • They should be limited to household members (and support bubble) and close family. 
    • A close friend can attend a funeral if there are no household members or immediate family members.
    • People living outside of Bolton can travel to attend but cannot meet with other households in private homes or gardens.
  • Places of worship:
    • You can attend places of worship if you socially distance from those you do not live with and wear a face covering. Where possible services should take place outside. 
  • Moving home:
    • You can still have viewings of your home. Estate agents and removal firms can continue to work. 

Oldham

  • Homes, gardens & indoor venues: 
    • You cannot socialise with anyone outside of your house or support bubble. This overrides the ‘rule of six’. 
  • Indoor public spaces:
    • Pubs and bars must close at 10pm on the dot from September 24th, meaning last orders must be called beforehand. You must wear a face mask.
    • You can only attend restaurants in Oldham with your household or support bubble.
    • Informal sports are not permitted. Formally organised sports clubs where sports-governing body guidance has been issued can be played. 
  • Transport:
    • You must avoid public transport, except for essential travel. 
    • You must wear a face mask. 

Stockport and Wigan 

National guidelines apply in Stockport and Wigan as there are no local restrictions. 

See the latest national rule changes here

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