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.”
Text message scammer found and arrested by police in Manchester city centre hotel
44,000 mobile phone contacts were found on the man’s devices
A man suspected of sending over 26,000 fraudulent text messages was arrested by police officers yesterday afternoon.
The twenty-one year old, who has not yet been named, was found by officers in a hotel down Charles Street in the city centre, at around 3pm. Equipment used as part of a text message scam to defraud people – known as phishing – was also found in his hotel room.
The man was subsequently arrested at the scene.
Detectives from the City of Manchester Central division and Cybercrime Team seized the electronic equipment and his car as a part of their enquiries.
It is estimated that yesterday alone, around 26,000 text messages had already been sent from the devices, all claiming to be from Hermes asking for bank details after a missed delivery.
A total of 44,000 mobile phone contacts are also believed to have been stored on the devices.
Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of GMP’s City of Manchester Central division, said: “What we have uncovered here are potentially the components of a highly sophisticated and authentic scam that I know many people not just in Greater Manchester but across the country have been potential victims of in recent weeks and months.
“We have a man in custody and various items of potential evidence that we have seized and this is due to the initiative of the hotel staff, who acted on their suspicions, and the subsequent response from our neighbourhood officers in the city centre.
“These are the very early stages of what promises to be a complex and dynamic investigation, and I would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to ensure they keep remaining alert to the daily risks that unscrupulous cyber criminals pose to them by sending these fraudulent messages.”
GMP advise that anyone believing to be affected by this scam, any other phishing attempts or for more information, they can get in touch here.
Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school
Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger
A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.
Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’
Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.
Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.
“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”
Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”
Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head.
She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”
The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.
Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened.
Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.
“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.
“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”
Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.
Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th
We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…
Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.
The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.
According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.
As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.
The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.
Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim.
Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.
This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th.
Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.
“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.
“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”