Aldi has become the first major UK supermarket to begin selling face masks as the country prepares to move into the next stage of lockdown.
Face masks can now be purchased in Aldi’s middle aisle and online in its “Specialbuy” section after the German discounter began stocking them over the weekend.
Customers can purchase two re-usable machine washable masks for £4.99, but Aldi has stressed that they are non-medical and are not “intended for use in healthcare settings”.
“This is a general use face covering” Aldi said, adding: “It’s not a medical device or personal protective equipment.”
Until now supermarkets have been reluctant to stock face masks over fears they would be depriving front line staff of stock.
By stocking non-medical masks, supermarkets can ensure that NHS staff and other frontline workers still have access to the PPE they need.
According to The Grocer, other major UK supermarkets are set to begin stocking face masks before the start of July.
It comes as the government prepares to re-open non-essential retail and make face masks compulsory for public transport from June 15.
Anyone in an enclosed public space, including shops, are also ‘recommended’ to wear a mask, though this is not yet compulsory.