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Staff ‘dread’ as shoppers shun masks

Mask ask: London branch of Morrisons, which is insisting on face coverings PICTURE: EPA

SUPERMARKET staff have been ‘dreading’ work because of abuse from shoppers flouting Covid mask measures.

Workers criticised the ‘blase’ attitude of customers who ‘think they’re above the rules’ that store chains have begun to enforce more vigorously.

Tesco, Asda and Waitrose have followed Morrisons and Sainsbury’s by banning shoppers who refuse to wear masks and are not medically exempt.

And the Co-op is to increase in-store pleas for customers to cover up.

Police say officers will be able to help deal with ‘aggressive’ shoppers.

But a Gloucestershire Tesco worker, currently at home after catching Covid, said she was ‘horrified’ by the responses of some people she challenged.

‘I find, and so do my colleagues, that it’s not as strict as the first lockdown,’ the worker said.

‘I asked a customer where his mask was and he hit the roof, telling me (coronavirus) is not real and it’s the government making it all up — I was horrified. I’m dreading going back.’

A staff member at a Merseyside Asda branch said she had received ‘abuse’ from shoppers who even refused to wear masks offered to them. ‘The amount of times the response is “Oh, I can’t wear one of those” or “I’m exempt”, and (they) show no proof,’ she added.

A worker at a superstore in Leeds said ‘blase’ customers ‘can essentially do what they like’ — as ‘we’re not allowed to enforce’ safety measures. He added: ‘It’s annoying to see people thinking they’re above the rules, but when you see an elderly person with a mask on saying they’re scared to be there, that’s when it really upsets me.’