“Freedom Day” has arrived and most restrictions have been lifted up and down the country despite cases of the virus being at its highest levels since January.
Almost all legal restrictions have been lifted in England, including the rule of six and ditching of social distancing rules, meaning masks are no longer a legal requirement when visiting stores.
Despite this, many retailers will still encourage or even require shoppers to wear a mask when entering their stores.
Charged has scoured the UK’s largest retailers’ mask and social distancing policies so your return to the high street can be as comfortable as possible.
Tesco and Sainsbury’s staff will encourage customers and workers to continue wearing masks however they won’t be required to do so to enter stores, with the latter’s staff not being asked to wear a mask when working behind a screen.
Lidl has said that masks are not a requirement however will have signs at the front of stores to remind shoppers that while restrictions have been lifted, the wearing of masks is recommended by the government.
Waitrose and John Lewis have said they will recommend shoppers wear face coverings unless they are exempt, saying the decision “will be for each individual to take”.
Asda announced it will “encourage customers to be respectful to each other and to follow the government guidance on face coverings”. There will be signs and announcements in stores to encourage shoppers to wear masks.
Co-op will join its rivals in recommending the use of masks but said it would not enforce the policy after saying that it could be “flashpoint for violence and abuse” towards staff.
Book retailer Waterstones will ask customers to observe the one metre rule despite social distancing rules being scrapped.
Fast fashion giant Primark said it hopes that “people will continue to think of others and wear a face covering if they can”.
Fashion retailer H&M is following suit by encouraging staff and shoppers to continue wearing a face mask.
Retail chain Wilko is asking employees to continue wearing masks and has asked shoppers to “show their support by wearing theirs while shopping too”.
Health and beauty retailer Boots recommends that customers continue to wear face masks in shops, especially during busy times and in its pharmacy areas. The company has said its staff will continue to wear masks.
It’s rival, Superdrug is waiting for the government to release more detailed guidance before confirming its rules for moving forward. The current mask and social distancing policy remains in place in the meantime.