Waterstones to encourage shoppers to wear masks in stores

2 weeks ago 7

By Rebecca Marston
Business reporter, BBC News

image copyrightJohn Keeble

Waterstones says it volition promote its customers to proceed wearing look coverings successful its stores aft they cease to beryllium compulsory aft July 19.

It is 1 of the archetypal large chains to authorities a steadfast argumentation connected disguise wearing.

Businesses are weighing up what attack to instrumentality erstwhile Covid measures go a substance for them to decide.

Some store workers and unit are disquieted that abandoning masks volition enactment their wellness astatine risk, but others person reacted with choler astatine Waterstones' move.

Waterstones said successful a tweet: "Following the assistance of restrictions connected 19 July crossed England, we volition observe caller authorities guidance. Given our enclosed browsing environment, we promote our customers to deterioration look masks and observe societal distancing, respecting the information of unit and chap publication lovers."

The tweet has attracted a wide - and mixed - response. Many are successful favour of its position. The tweet had garnered 22,000 "likes" by lunchtime.

Critical attraction nurse, Kimberley Anne, said: "@Waterstones ! As an ITU nurse, I americium truthful exhausted with each these waves of Covid and I personally consciousness much astatine easiness bookshopping with a mask. I americium freaking retired already utilizing the tube."

But Talk Radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer, said: "I marque a constituent of buying books astatine my section @Waterstones alternatively than ordering connected Amazon due to the fact that I privation bookstores to thrive, but if I spell into your store and a subordinate of unit asks maine to deterioration a mask, you volition suffer my concern forever."

Forthright

From Monday 19 July the authorities has said wearing look coverings successful England volition beryllium recommended but not mandatory.

Transport companies person been the astir forthright successful mounting retired their policies. London Transport said connected Tuesday it would necessitate passengers connected the Tube, autobus and its overground railways to deterioration masks.

Airlines including BA and Ryanair person already confirmed look masks volition inactive beryllium compulsory aft 19 July.

But astir retailers person taken a much cautious approach, and many, including starring supermarkets, person not yet said thing concrete.

Timpsons footwear repair and cardinal cutting chain, which has much than 2,000 shops, is leaving disguise wearing arsenic a substance of idiosyncratic prime for customers.

Its brag said: "I don't deliberation the mode it's going we've got immoderate right, we shouldn't expect them to bash so, that's wholly up to the customer."

But helium said his unit would beryllium asked to deterioration masks.

Jewellery retailer Beaverbrooks is going further. It told the BBC it would support each of its existent information measures successful place, including invited barriers, manus sanitisation stations and serving screens.

It said unit would inactive beryllium wearing visors oregon masks. But it added that though it could not unit customers to deterioration masks, it would similar them to proceed to deterioration masks successful its stores.

'Violence and abuse'

Aside from Sainsburys, which said past week that disguise wearing volition beryllium a substance of idiosyncratic prime for customers, starring supermarkets person not truthful acold publically stated their approach. Morrisons says it is waiting for further guidance from the government.

Some shoppers are uncomfortable with thing different than a wide information policy. Commenting connected Waterstones' move, Denys Whitley tweeted: "'Encourage' is not beardown enough. Mask-wearing indispensable beryllium mandatory. Non-masked are not respecting the information of unit oregon chap book-lovers... With this policy, I'll beryllium sticking to the pathetic enactment connected Amazon."

Shop workers national Usdaw had antecedently urged the authorities not to assistance Covid information measures successful shops.

According to a caller survey, it recovered violence, verbal maltreatment oregon threats of unit towards shopworkers had accrued from betwixt 25-50%, with look coverings the trigger for 15% of the incidents.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw wide secretary, said: "Shopworkers already look unit and maltreatment erstwhile enforcing these measures and we are acrophobic that, erstwhile restrictions nary longer person the unit of the instrumentality down them, this could effect successful further abuse, threats and unit towards retail workers."

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