Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda among supermarkets with bouncers

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Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda among supermarkets with bouncers

Cressida Dick today insisted officers would come to the aid of supermarket staff if shoppers became 'aggressive' after being told to wear a mask af

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Cressida Dick today insisted officers would come to the aid of supermarket staff if shoppers became ‘aggressive’ after being told to wear a mask after police warned they did not have enough manpower to enforce the rules. 

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and M&S have now reintroduced bouncers at the door in all stores to ensure customers are wearing face coverings and socially distancing. 

Meanwhile, John Lewis today announced it would scrap click and collect for new orders from tomorrow, although it will still run at Waitrose for food orders.  

West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Brian Booth this morning warned that there were not enough officers to ‘stand in every store’ and it was up to the supermarkets themselves to enforce the rules. 

But speaking later, Dame Cressida said her officers would be prepared to assist supermarket staff if customers became ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when they were told they must wear a face covering. She also said it was ‘preposterous’ people couldn’t know rules as vowed to continue wider crackdown.

Bouncers were in place at the start of the first lockdown in March to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, but began to vanish as the threat posed by Covid-19 waned during the summer, leading to an increasingly ‘lax’ attitude from shoppers who were increasingly seen maskless. 

But as alarm bells were sounded by Downing Street and scientists warned that shops were contributing to the rise in cases, the Big Four supermarkets today returned to the previous, stricter arrangement.     

Mr Booth said officers would only intervene if ‘other offences were committed’, such as when the customer refusing to wear a mask became violent or abusive. 

‘If there is an ongoing crime, an assault or danger to someone that must be the priority but we just don’t have the resources to stand at every supermarket,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

It came as Boris Johnson gathered his Cabinet after warning he could further strengthen the restrictions if people continued flouting the law – as ministers defended his controversial decision to go cycling in the Olympic Park, seven miles from Downing Street. 

Meanwhile, today’s mask crackdown ran into problems from day one today as some shoppers continued refusing to follow the rules, despite the vast majority complying with them. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted today: ‘Don’t get caught out when you’re at the supermarket — remember always to take a face mask with you when you’re leaving your home. Wear it on the way to the shop and in the queue as well. We need to be doing everything we can to slow the spread of the virus.’

A maskless shopper seen today in a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London. The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys, said: 'I had a mask with me but simply forgot'

A maskless shopper seen today in a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London. The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys, said: ‘I had a mask with me but simply forgot’

Customers not wearing masks at an Asda in Swindon. It is not clear if the customer on the pictured had a medical exemption

Customers not wearing masks at an Asda in Swindon

Customers not wearing masks at an Asda in Swindon. There are various exemptions from having to wear a face mask – it is unclear if any of these apply to the customer seen on the left 

A Morrisons customer posted on social media to complain about being allowed into a store in Colwyn Bay for failing to wear a mask

A customer leaving a store in London

A Morrisons customer posted on social media to complain about being allowed into a store in Colwyn Bay for failing to wear a mask (left). Pictured on the right is a customer leaving a store in London 

Shoppers at a Tesco Extra in south-east London this morning. Rules state that masks must be worn over the nose and mouth

Shoppers at a Tesco Extra in south-east London this morning. Rules state that masks must be worn over the nose and mouth 

A security guard on duty today at the entrance to a Morrisons in Leeds, where most customers were following the face mask guidance

A security guard on duty today at the entrance to a Morrisons in Leeds, where most customers were following the face mask guidance 

A security guard speaks to customers entering a Sainsbury's store in Swindon today on day one of the new mask crackdown

A security guard speaks to customers entering a Sainsbury’s store in Swindon today on day one of the new mask crackdown 

Sainsbury's CEO Simon Roberts sent this email to all customers this morning to inform them about the new enforcement measures

Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts sent this email to all customers this morning to inform them about the new enforcement measures 

As Britain entered its 295th day of lockdown: 

  • Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey warned furlough is masking unemployment and the true rate could be 6.5 per cent not 4.9 per cent;
  • The government is facing more pressure to make the vaccination programme 24-hours and start giving more frontline workers jabs;
  • Seven vaccination hubs have come into use, including London’s ExCeL and Birmingham’s Millennium Point;
  • Derbyshire Police has cancelled £200 fines for two women penalised for driving five miles to go for a walk;
  • Police officers have launched a crackdown on Go players using the popular app outdoors; 
  • Nearly a quarter of care home residents have received their first shot of Covid vaccine, with nearly 2.7million doses now administered across the UK;
  • Labour is leading calls for PM to tear up red tape and allow jabs 24/7 amid demands for police, teachers and shift workers to get inoculated after No10 insisted there is no ‘clamour’ for appointments after 8pm; 
  • Hospitals started rationing oxygen as it emerged that one in four coronavirus patients is under 55;  
  • Scientists urged No10 to increase social distancing to three metres as Matt Hancock blasted people for flouting lockdown rules;
  • Another 529 virus deaths were recorded yesterday, up from 407 a week earlier, with 46,169 new cases;
  • Boris Johnson was given a March 8 target by Tory lockdown sceptics to start easing coronavirus curbs;
  • PM launched a blistering attack on China, blaming its ‘demented’ traditional medical practices for the pandemic. 

‘I don’t see what the fuss is’: Morrisons shopper says she doesn’t want to wear a mask because it is ‘uncomfortable’ 

Shoppers arriving at Morrisons in Peckham, South London were greeted by a security guard standing at the front door instructing them to put on their masks.

The security guard warned shoppers that they would not be allowed in if they failed to comply.

One woman who came without her mask was warned that if she did not put it on, she would not be allowed to continue with her shop.

One woman in a Morrisons in Peckham said she found masks 'uncomfortable'

 One woman in a Morrisons in Peckham said she found masks ‘uncomfortable’ 

The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys said: ‘I had a mask with me but simply forgot. I’ve come into the supermarket lots of times before and not put it on, but I think it’s a good thing that they are enforcing this.’

But after putting on her mask, Gladys then lowered it below her mouth as she continued with her shop.

She said: ‘I find them too uncomfortable. I don’t see what the fuss is, I’ve got a mask on, it’s just not covering my nose and mouth at the moment.’

As Gladys shopped in the store, she was not challenged about how she was wearing her mask.

Shoppers arriving at Morrisons in Peckham, south London were greeted by a security guard instructing them to put on their masks or they would not be allowed in.

One woman who came without her mask was warned that if she did not put it on, she would not be allowed to continue with her shop.

The woman, who only gave her first name of Gladys said: ‘I had a mask with me but simply forgot. I’ve come into the supermarket lots of times before and not put it on, but I think it’s a good thing that they are enforcing this.’

But after putting on her mask, Gladys then lowered it below her mouth as she continued with her shop. She said: ‘I find them too uncomfortable. I don’t see what the fuss is, I’ve got a mask on, it’s just not covering my nose and mouth at the moment.’

As Gladys shopped in the store, she was not challenged about how she was wearing her mask.  

Shoppers were pictured without face masks today at a series of supermarkets, including Asda, Morrisons and Tesco in London, Leeds and Swindon. 

Supermarkets may be the most common place where people in England are exposed to the coronavirus, official data suggests. 

When asked about the crackdown, a shopper at a Morrisons in Peckham, south-east London said: ‘It’s about time. 

‘A lot of people are going to supermarkets and simply ignoring the rules.

‘I don’t know why it’s taken Morrisons this long to start enforcing this rule.

‘We’re living in very difficult times and we’ve all got to pull together to beat this virus.’

A second, who refused to give her name, did not have a mask covering her nose. She said: ‘What’s the problem I’ve got a mask on haven’t I?

‘I find it difficult to breathe when I’ve got a mask on and sometimes get a rash.

‘I think it’s good to enforce the rule but they’ve got to understand that for some people, masks are very uncomfortable.’

The store’s security guard, who did not want to give his name, said: ‘We’ve been given strict instructions about masks. If you’ve not got one on, you’re not getting in. It’s as simple as that.’

The security guard added that until today, they had not been challenging customers who were without masks.

He added: ‘It wasn’t our responsibility to enforce it and we were told to call the police, which we never did. 

‘This is going to create more problems for us because my concern is that some people will not want to wear a mask and will fight with us over it. So far, we’ve not had many problems.’

Despite several instances of rule-breaking, most shoppers at supermarkets visited by MailOnline today were wearing masks. 

What supermarket regulations are now in place and when did they change?

Sainsbury’s

Facemasks are mandatory in store, unless the shopper is medically exempt from wearing them. Guards at the entrance enforce the rules. 

There are also plastic safety screens, hand sanitiser and signs urging customers to socially distance.

The store also has specially-timed slots for elderly or vulnerable people to buy their goods.

Today the store told MailOnline insisted that guards had been present throughout the pandemic but more had been sent to stores that ‘needed extra help’. 

Morrisons 

Morrisons have told guards to refuse entry to shoppers who have no medical reason for not wearing a facemask. 

Some stores have had guards throughout the pandemic but these were rolled out to all locations as of today.  

They also have a specialist next-day delivery service for those who cannot get to a shop in person.

The shop also has an NHS priority time the key workers can go in to buy food. 

Tesco 

Tesco today joined Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in banning customers without masks and bringing in security guards to enforce the rules. 

Today the store told MailOnline security guards had attended stores throughout the pandemic but more had now been recruited. 

It also has priority hours for key workers as well as limits on some items for delivery.

Marks & Spencer

M&S has hand sanitising as well as one-way systems in place and a facemask rule.

Larger shops have restricted the purchase of non-essential goods.

There is also a booking process to let people reserve a slot instore to go shopping. MailOnline has contacted M&S, and all the stores listed below, for their current arrangements as well as if and when they changed. 

Asda

Asda, like others, has a rule for facemasks unless there is a medical exemption announced by the customer.

They also have an app that lets shoppers wait in a digital queue in their cars for a slot to go instore. 

Asda also say they have put a protective film on basket and trolley grips that kills bacteria.

Waitrose

Waitrose says facemasks must be worn in its stores unless a person is exempted from not wearing one.

Marshals are at the entrances to its stores to check people are wearing mask and are shopping alone.

Floor-markers help customers to follow social distancing while people are asked to keep two metres in queues. 

During the first shutdown, supermarkets installed bouncers at store entrances to challenge rule-breakers and created in-store one-way systems to help people socially distance. 

MailOnline has asked all major supermarkets if they plan to follow Sainsbury’s and Morrisons in reintroducing bouncers.  

Britain’s policing minister Kit Malthouse this morning said police would intervene in serious breaches of Covid rules in shops, but measures imposed and enforced by owners would be effective in most cases.

Brian Booth, chair of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said officers would only intervene if ‘other offences were committed’, such as when the customer refusing to wear a mask became violent or abusive. 

‘If there is an ongoing crime, an assault or danger to someone that must be the priority but we just don’t have the resources to stand at every supermarket,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

Mr Booth also criticised the current regulations as ‘woolly’, saying they left too many ‘loose ends’ which ‘cheesed-off’ officers had to interpret for themselves. 

He suggested that the much-publicised fining of two walkers in Derbyshire was correct according to the guidance. 

‘An officer issued a ticket in the spirit it was written,’ told the Today programme. Normally in law, when you have a new law it is disputed and goes to the court where it is argued and becomes case law. 

‘But we don’t have time for that, so what we need is a sound basis in law and we need it now, rather than leaving loose ends.’ 

It came as Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said it was ‘preposterous’ that people would not know the Covid rules, and vowed to continue fining lawbreakers.

Writing in the Times today, Dame Cressida said: ‘It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. 

‘We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.

‘We will still be engaging, explaining and encouraging but those who break the rules or refuse to comply where they should without good reason will find officers moving much more quickly to enforcement action.’ 

Ms Dick said today that police will move ‘swiftly’ to fine people who blatantly ignore coronavirus lockdown rules and said officers in London had issued more than 300 fixed penalty notices in the space of 24 hours for ‘flagrant’ violations of the regulations.

Dame Cressida said her officers would be prepared to assist supermarket staff if customers became ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when they were told they must wear a face covering. 

And in a veiled criticism of the PM’s Olympic Park bike ride Dame Cressida Dick said: ‘For me, a reasonable interpretation of that is that if you can go for your exercise from your front door and come back to your front door’, adding: ‘The public are looking to all of us as role models’. 

Ministers have warned that tougher lockdown rules could be introduced to stem a rise in cases.  

Britons can go on 70 mile bike rides but only sit on park benches ‘for a short pause’, should think carefully about meeting a friend for a coffee while walking and must never go to the supermarket without a mask, they said today.

Mr Malthouse also accused the public of ‘searching for the loopholes in the law’ by flouting the third national lockdown – comparing it to pubs serving scotch eggs to stay open last year – and insisted that it is the police’s job to scrutinise where people are going and who they are meeting outdoors.

Amid widespread confusion about whether people are allowed to sit on park benches during their daily exercise, No10 sources also told MailOnline a ‘short pause’ during the course of exercise would be ‘reasonable’. However, they stressed it would be unlawful to go out ‘just to sit in public’. 

A woman is challenged for not wearing a mask at a Morrisons branch in south-east London. Bouncers are now on the doors of every Morrisons and Sainsbury's store

A woman is challenged for not wearing a mask at a Morrisons branch in south-east London. Bouncers are now on the doors of every Morrisons and Sainsbury’s store 

Pierre Martin, 62, had a face mask and a visor to stay safe on a visit to Sainsbury's in New Cross, south-east London, this morning

Pierre Martin, 62, had a face mask and a visor to stay safe on a visit to Sainsbury’s in New Cross, south-east London, this morning 

Several customers had masks on that were not properly positioned over there nose and mouth, as the anti-Covid rules require

Several customers had masks on that were not properly positioned over there nose and mouth, as the anti-Covid rules require 

Supermarkets have been urged to ensure all customers are following the rules and wearing their face coverings correctly

Supermarkets have been urged to ensure all customers are following the rules and wearing their face coverings correctly 

How supermarkets could be the most common place for people to be exposed to Covid  

Supermarkets may be the most common place where people in England are exposed to the coronavirus, official data suggests.

NHS Test and Trace workers ask Covid-positive patients about where they went in the days before they developed symptoms.

Around 150,000 ‘events’ were recorded in the most recent week of data, which ended on January 3 – before the third lockdown kicked in.

Roughly a third of the activities listed were ‘shopping’ – which was the highest proportion of all of the locations considered, which include hospitals, schools and care homes.

But this is because supermarkets are one of the only shops allowed to stay open in England’s third national lockdown.

Stores have put in place Covid secure measures including regular cleaning, hand sanitisers at the entrance and only allowing a set number of shoppers inside.

Experts at PHE today insisted their data did not suggest supermarkets were at the centre of coronavirus transmission in the UK, saying it does not prove where someone was infected with the disease.

Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, previously said ‘it is unsurprising’ that supermarkets feature strongly when people are asked where they have visited – because most businesses have had to shut their doors. 

Mr Malthouse insisted Boris Johnson’s decision to go cycling in the Olympic Park seven miles from Downing Street was ‘within the rules’ and legal, saying the PM’s Sunday ride in east London was fine because ‘local is open to interpretation’ and that a 50 to 70 mile bike ride starting and ending at home would also be fine in most cases.

He said: ‘I understand that this is a sort of scotch egg moment where people are searching for the loopholes and the problems in the law. Unfortunately we can’t legislate for every single dynamic of human existence. If you can get there under your own steam and you are not interacting with somebody … then that seems perfectly reasonable to me’.   

No 10 is yet to confirm if Mr Johnson cycled to the Olympic Park himself or was conveyed to east London by car as some Tory MPs complained that too much power is being handed to police.

Dame Cressida has also asked the Government to enshrine the definition of ‘local’ in law to make it easier to police as it emerged that officers in Devon and Cornwall are even using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to make sure only essential journeys are being made during lockdown – and hunt down people travelling to second homes.

Hampshire Police are also using drones to watch people visiting the waterfront at Southsea to ensure they are social distancing and not meeting in groups. 

Shopworkers have revealed that they are receiving abuse from customers for encouraging them to wear masks.

A Tesco worker from Gloucestershire, said she was ‘horrified’ by responses she had received after challenging customers, adding: ‘I find, and so do my colleagues, that it’s not as strict as the first lockdown.’

A staff member at an Asda store in north-west Merseyside said: ‘I used to ask people on the front door for proof of exemption and the abuse I got was mostly from the younger generation.

‘My manager told me we have to offer them a mask but can’t enforce it so I feel it’s a waste of time.’ 

The shopworkers’ union Usdaw said it had been ‘inundated’ with complaints from its members of abuse during the pandemic, and demanded supermarkets and food retailers revert to ‘stringent’ restrictions.  

This Morrisons store in Swindon did not appear to have any security at the entrance to enforce the face mask rules this morning

This Morrisons store in Swindon did not appear to have any security at the entrance to enforce the face mask rules this morning 

The vast majority of people seen at supermarkets across the UK today - including a Morrisons in London, pictured - were following the rules

The vast majority of people seen at supermarkets across the UK today – including a Morrisons in London, pictured – were following the rules 

Supermarkets may be the most common place where people in England are exposed to the coronavirus, official data suggests

Supermarkets may be the most common place where people in England are exposed to the coronavirus, official data suggests

MPs blast government for STILL not revealing what type of Covid test they will accept from British tourists under new rules

Britons abroad face a race to get home before rules requiring international travellers to test negative for coronavirus prior to arriving in England come into force – and the UK Government has not yet released full guidance on which tests they will accept.

From 4am this Friday, those arriving by boat, train or plane – including UK nationals – will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country of departure.

But there is still confusion over which tests will be accepted, with the latest UK Government guidance issued yesterday referring to how lateral flow tests might be allowed ‘in some cases’ – and saying further advice will be issued to passengers.

One MP complained today that it was ‘taking an extremely long time to pin down something that a lot of other countries have been doing for many months now’.

Lateral flow tests are cheaper and give results in 30 minutes, while the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests take up to three days to identify positive cases.

Britons will need to present proof of a negative test result to their carrier on boarding while the UK Border Force will conduct spot checks on arrivals.

Conservative MP Henry Smith, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on aviation, said he welcomed the test requirement for every passenger coming into the UK, pointing out that he had suggested it in the Commons as long ago as last January. 

High street chains including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose insisted that Covid safety remains their ‘highest priority’ and said that customers were given regular reminders to follow the rules.

But shocking examples of the regulations being broken were seemingly evident in the big-brand shops as Boris Johnson warned of ‘complacency’ and urged people to comply with the restrictions. 

It comes amid threats to impose outdoor mask mandates, with London’s Borough Market becoming the first place in the UK to legally enforce the wearing of masks while the Welsh health minister hinted that restrictions could get even tougher as he advised people to wear masks inbetween shops in public. 

The PM said : ‘We need to enforce the rules in supermarkets. When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much.’

In a statement, Morrisons said it had ‘introduced and consistently maintained thorough and robust safety measures in all our stores’ since last year.

But it added: ‘From today we are further strengthening our policy on masks’ – revealing that security guards at the UK’s fourth-biggest supermarket chain will be enforcing the new rules.  

Enforcement of face masks is the responsibility of the police, not retailers. Wearing face masks in supermarkets and shops is compulsory across the UK.

In England, the police can issue a £200 fine to someone breaking the face covering rules. In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, a £60 fine can be imposed. Repeat offenders face bigger fines.

Morrisons’ chief executive David Potts announced: ‘Those who are offered a face covering and decline to wear one won’t be allowed to shop at Morrisons unless they are medically exempt.

‘Our store colleagues are working hard to feed you and your family, please be kind.’

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: ‘On behalf of all my colleagues, I am asking our customers to help us keep everyone safe. 

‘The vast majority of customers are shopping safely, but I have also seen some customers trying to shop without a mask and shopping in larger family groups. 

‘Please help us to keep all our colleagues and customers safe by always wearing a mask and by shopping alone. Everyone’s care and consideration matters now more than ever.’    

A security guard patrols an Asda in Swindon this morning, where the vast majority of shoppers were following the rules to wear masks

A security guard patrols an Asda in Swindon this morning, where the vast majority of shoppers were following the rules to wear masks 

A masked shopper walks past a sign urging everyone to follow the rules over face coverings outside a Sainsbury's in south-east London

A masked shopper walks past a sign urging everyone to follow the rules over face coverings outside a Sainsbury’s in south-east London 

Friends Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, pictured, both 27, who were each fined £200 by police for driving 10mins for a walk in a local reservoir say they've had their fines cancelled following backlash

Friends Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, pictured, both 27, who were each fined £200 by police for driving 10mins for a walk in a local reservoir say they’ve had their fines cancelled following backlash

Nearly 2.7million vaccine doses have been administered across the UK, according to government figures from last night

Nearly 2.7million vaccine doses have been administered across the UK, according to government figures from last night

Shocking coronavirus simulation shows how infected shopper can cough cloud of deadly droplets across TWO supermarket aisles 

Scientists have put together a shocking video that shows how deadly coronavirus droplets can spread across two supermarket aisles and infect shoppers, with the bug hanging in the air for ‘several minutes.

Experts from Aalto University in Finland have put together an animation so shoppers can be aware of the dangers of spreading the killer disease.

‘Someone infected by the coronavirus, can cough and walk away, but then leave behind extremely small aerosol particles carrying the coronavirus. These particles could then end up in the respiratory tract of others in the vicinity,’ says Aalto University Assistant Professor Ville Vuorinen. 

The alarming video follows disturbing news that joggers could be passing the infection to one another, even if they are six feet apart.

Scientists in Finaldn say Covid-19 germs from a cough can spread across two shopping aisles

Scientists in Finaldn say Covid-19 germs from a cough can spread across two shopping aisles

 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised Morrisons for imposing a blanket mask rule, telling a Downing Street press conference: ‘It isn’t just about the Government and the rules we set, or the police and the work that they do – it’s about how everybody behaves.

‘I applaud the action Morrisons has taken today, the supermarket, they have said that they will not let people in without a mask unless they clearly have a medical reason. That’s the right approach and I want to see all parts of society playing their part in this.’

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday voiced his concerns that members of the public were not complying with measures put in place by supermarkets, amid suggestions the restrictions may need to be toughened. 

‘I am worried about supermarkets and people actually wearing masks and following the one-way system and making sure when it’s at capacity they wait outside the supermarket,’ he said. 

It comes amid reports that shopworkers are receiving abuse from customers who are not wearing masks, with Lincoln-based supermarket staffer Skye Henson, 23, saying people took the first lockdown ‘a lot more seriously’ and claiming ‘we’re lucky if people are wearing masks’ now.

She told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat: ‘A good 30 per cenr of the people that come into our shop don’t wear masks and just outright don’t think it’s an issue. They don’t consider us to be in any kind of danger, so for me I do think a lot of it is the public putting us at risk.’ 

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: ‘Retail staff are working with the public every day and not only suffer increased abuse, but are deeply worried about catching Covid-19. 

‘Where safety measures are agreed, retailers need to make sure that they are being followed consistently, in every store.

‘We are also very concerned by reports that too many customers are not following necessary safety measures like social distancing, wearing a face covering and only shopping for essential items.  

‘It is going to take some time to roll out the vaccine and we cannot afford to be complacent in the meantime, particularly with a new strain sweeping the nation. 

‘I am worried about supermarkets and people actually wearing masks and following the one-way system and making sure when it’s at capacity they wait outside the supermarket.’   

Retail industry body the British Retail Consortium said that workers have faced an increase in incidents of violence and abuse when trying to encourage shoppers to put them on.

Britain's policing minister Kit Malthouse said police would intervene in serious breaches of Covid rules in shops. Pictured are Tesco customers following the rules at a store in London this morning

Britain’s policing minister Kit Malthouse said police would intervene in serious breaches of Covid rules in shops. Pictured are Tesco customers following the rules at a store in London this morning 

Customers wearing face coverings on the vegetable aisle at a Tesco Extra store in south-east London early this morning

Customers wearing face coverings on the vegetable aisle at a Tesco Extra store in south-east London early this morning 

Tesco has signs outside many of its stores insisting shoppers must wear a face covering, although they can ask staff for one if they have lost theirs

Tesco has signs outside many of its stores insisting shoppers must wear a face covering, although they can ask staff for one if they have lost theirs 

PM blames Chinese for coronavirus pandemic telling world leaders it was triggered by ‘demented’ people who ‘grind up the scales of a pangolin’ in a bid to become more ‘potent’ 

Boris Johnson launched a blistering attack on China, blaming its ‘demented’ traditional medical practices for the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech to world leaders yesterday he attacked people who ‘grind up the scales of a pangolin’ in a bid to become more ‘potent’.

He made the remarks, which risk a furious diplomatic row – in a speech to the One Planet Summit, hosted by France’s President Macron.

Pangolins are heavily-trafficked scaly anteater-like creatures, which have been blamed for transmitting the virus from bats to humans.

The first documented cases of the Covid-19 were in the Chinese city of Wuhan, with a wet market trading in exotic animals being seen as the probable source.

In comments that are likely to risk fury from Beijing, Mr Johnson said: ‘Obviously it’s right to focus on climate change, obviously it’s right to cut CO2 emissions, but we won’t achieve a real balance with our planet unless we protect nature as well.

‘One final thought, don’t forget that the coronavirus pandemic was the product of an imbalance in man’s relationship with the natural world.

‘Like the original plague which struck the Greeks I seem to remember in book one of the Iliad, it is a zoonotic disease.

‘It originates from bats or pangolins, from the demented belief that if you grind up the scales of a pangolin you will somehow become more potent or whatever it is people believe, it originates from this collision between mankind and the natural world and we’ve got to stop it.’ 

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘Supermarkets continue to follow all safety guidance and customers should be reassured that supermarkets are Covid-secure and safe to visit during lockdown and beyond.

‘Customers should play their part too by following in-store signage and being considerate to staff and fellow shoppers.’ 

One woman told MailOnline how Marks and Spencer told her they could not challenge people who do not adhere to the mask mandate.

Fiona Call said she was shopping at a Food Hall at Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire when she saw a woman ‘blatantly marching around the store with her mask under her chin’.

‘I mentioned this to a manager in the store. 

‘His reply was that they aren’t allowed to challenge people who aren’t adhering to the rules,’ she said.

‘She was obviously putting many people at risk by her behaviour and no one was able to do anything about it.’

Marks and Spencer insisted it was enforcing lockdown rules, with a ‘friendly host at the entrance’ who counts customers and manages queues. 

Tesco said it was still enforcing social distancing practices in store but was not looking yet at reintroducing measures such as one-way aisles.

‘The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we already have extensive social distancing measures in our stores to ensure everyone can shop safely with us,’ the store said on Twitter.

‘We are asking all our customers to wear a face covering when visiting our stores and have prominent signs in place to inform customers of the rules. 

‘However, there may be some customers who are unable to wear a face covering for medical or safety reasons and we have asked our colleagues to respect that and to not challenge them directly.’ 

Waitrose said face masks must be worn in its stores unless a person is exempted from not wearing one. 

It said marshals flank the entrances to its stores to check people are complying with the mask mandate and checking that people are shopping alone.

The supermarket chain has also laid out floor markers which instruct customers to following social distancing rules, while signs and tannoys tell people to keep two metres apart while queueing on the premises.  

Data from Public Health England last week found 11 outbreaks of the disease had come from food outlets.

But England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said supermarket staff would not be initially prioritised for vaccinations unless they also fell into the highest vulnerability categories.

Everyone in England is being urged to stay at home and 'act like you've got it' as part of a major advertising campaign. including posters (pictured) encouraging the public to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS and save lives

Everyone in England is being urged to stay at home and ‘act like you’ve got it’ as part of a major advertising campaign. including posters (pictured) encouraging the public to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS and save lives

Scientists urge No10 to increase social distancing to THREE METRES as Matt Hancock blasts people for flouting lockdown after Britain endures deadliest week so far with average of 931 deaths a DAY 

By Simon Walters for the Daily Mail and Jemma Carr for MailOnline

oris Johnson is under pressure to increase the social distancing gap to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Leading members of the Sage scientific advisory panel want the measure raised from ‘one metre plus’ to ‘two metres plus’.

In practice this would change the limit to three metres – nearly 10ft. The drastic proposal came as a furious Matt Hancock denounced individuals who flout social distancing rules.

Brush with the law! Moment police raid London barber’s shop and catch staff cutting two men’s lockdown ban

This is the moment police catch barber shop staff cutting two men’s hair amid the lockdown before hitting the owner with a £1,000 fine for their ‘blatant disregard of coronavirus regulations’.

Body-cam footage released by City of London Police shows officers raid The Grooming Lounge Barbers, in Barbican, and catch two customers receiving a haircut from staff despite the current restrictions on January 9.

The scenes come just weeks after England was plunged into a third national lockdown amid the spread of a mutant version of the coronavirus.

Staff inside The Grooming Lounge Barbers, in Barbican, central London, are caught cutting two men's hair on January 9

Staff inside The Grooming Lounge Barbers, in Barbican, central London, are caught cutting two men’s hair on January 9

During the clip, which was shared by the force on social media, the police enter the barber shop and confront members of staff.

The shop’s windows had been covered with old newspapers in an apparent attempt to stop people from seeing they were open.

In a statement the force said: ‘City of London Police officers attended a barbershop in the City that was operating despite current restrictions. 

‘The owner was issued with a £1,000 fine. This is a blatant disregard of coronavirus regulations & won’t be tolerated. The message is clear: #StayAtHome.

‘Most people are doing their part and obeying the rules to protect the NHS and save lives, but we will continue to deal with those who flout the rules putting everyone at risk.’       

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference the Health Secretary said that he would ‘not rule out further action if needed.’

He was backed by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, who sits on Sage and said it was time to ‘double down’ on Covid curbs – including outdoor contact.

Asked if a three-metre rule would be imposed in England, a Downing Street spokesman said last night: ‘There are no current plans to change social distancing rules. However, everything is kept under review.’

The Daily Mail has been told that several members of Sage say the lockdown needs to be even tougher than the first one in March last year.

The idea of a Chinese-style ban on residents leaving their homes was raised at one meeting.

Ministers are furious that some people have been using their right to daily exercise simply as an excuse to meet friends for a coffee in the park.

One source said: ‘If it means limiting people to a single one-hour walk on their own once a week that is what we must do. We cannot let a few selfish idiots put the whole country in danger.’

It is feared that the failure to observe the restrictions is fuelling the number of deaths and risks hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

Increasing the social distancing rule to three metres is seen as one way of stopping the spread of the new variant of the virus, which can be passed on more easily.

Opponents of the move say it would have little impact, cause more confusion and be a logistical nightmare.

Two-metre signs have been painted on pavements across the nation, with similar notices found in tens of thousands of shops, factories, offices and public places.

Changing them all would add to the soaring cost of fighting the pandemic.

Supporters claim the benefit in saving lives and protecting the NHS means the move is worth it. They argue it is a response to the new variant which is thought to be up to be 70 per cent more transmissible.

If it goes ahead it would be the Government’s third policy on social distancing.

The distance was set at two metres in March after experts said coronavirus was up to ten times more transmissible at one metre than at two.

But it was reduced to ‘one metre plus’ in July after the first lockdown – mainly to make it easier for restaurants and cafes to reopen.

A ‘two metre plus’ rule would in practice mean staying three metres apart – nearly 10ft – unless steps were taken to limit the danger of transmission, such as screens.

Social distancing gaps vary around the world.

The distance was set at two metres in March after experts said coronavirus was up to ten times more transmissible at one metre than at two. Now experts want the public to maintain the distance on public transport, in supermarket lines and while out and about

The distance was set at two metres in March after experts said coronavirus was up to ten times more transmissible at one metre than at two. Now experts want the public to maintain the distance on public transport, in supermarket lines and while out and about

UAE races to vaccinate half its ten million population by April following a 100% rise in Covid infections since British reality stars began posting images of their sun-drenched holidays 

By Jack Newman for MailOnline

The United Arab Emirates is racing to vaccinate half of its citizens by April as it battles a dramatic surge in Covid cases since the turn of the year.

The Arab nation, comprising the holiday hotspot of Dubai where British influencers have been flocking in recent weeks to take advantage of lax lockdown rules, has seen daily cases double from 1,000 a day to 2,000 a day in just two weeks. 

The rise in cases has prompted the UK to end its travel corridor with the country which had been open since November, sparking a rush to get home for Britons still in the Middle Eastern country.

Tourists will now have to quarantine for 10 days upon their return to Britain and will need to present a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of their departure. 

The UAE has set an ambitious target of vaccinating half of its 10million citizens by the end of March and has already given shots to more than 12 per cent, second only to Israel in doses administered per capita. 

In China, Hong Kong and Singapore, which were successful in controlling the pandemic, the gap was one metre.

However, they imposed other, far stricter, rules including curfews. Spain and Canada followed the two-metre rule.

The three other home nations have different versions of the two-metre rule.

In Scotland people are advised to keep two metres apart and in Wales they are told to stay two metres apart unless it is not practical, with young children exempt.

The gap in Northern Ireland came down to one metre but is two again.

Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia said: ‘Risk declines the further you are away from someone.

‘So three metres will reduce risk somewhat compared to two metres – but it is difficult to say how much and whether that would make a big difference. I suspect the main issue is people not sticking to the two-metre rule.’

Mr Hancock warned against trying to ‘push the boundaries’ on exercise, adding: ‘If too many people break this rule we are going to have a look at it. Don’t say you are exercising if really you are just socialising.’

He said the two-metre rule had to be obeyed, not seen ‘as a limit to be challenged’. 

Shortly after Mr Hancock’s Downing Street press briefing on Monday, the PM released a short video filmed during his visit to the Ashton Gate vaccination centre in Bristol.

In it, he urged Britons to ‘follow the guidance, stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’ as Covid continues to spread rapidly in several parts of the country.

Britons shouldn’t ‘lose focus on the pandemic’ as coronavirus is ‘still causing huge, huge problems for our NHS’, Mr Johnson added.   

Mr Hancock also used the briefing to defend the PM after he was spotted cycling in the Olympic Park seven miles from Downing Street in apparent breach of government advice. 

The Health Secretary said it is allowed to cycle that distance from where you live to take exercise, despite also insisting that people must ‘stay local’.

But he also warned that rules on two people from different households being able to exercise outdoors together could be torn up if people keep abusing them.

‘If too many people keep breaking this rule we are going to have to look at it but I don’t want to do that,’ Mr Hancock told a No10 briefing yesterday evening.

What are the government’s rules on taking exercise? 

You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. 

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with one person from another household

This includes but is not limited to running, cycling, walking, and swimming. 

Personal training can continue one-on-one unless everyone is within the same household or support bubble.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • playgrounds

The PM was seen wearing a hat and a face mask on his bike at the venue seven miles away from Downing Street yesterday afternoon.

A source told the Evening Standard that Mr Johnson was exercising, accompanied by his security detail.  

Extraordinarily the premier is said to have ‘noted how busy’ the park was and remarked on it at a meeting later.

Official Government guidance says exercise should be limited to once a day and ‘you should not travel outside your local area’. 

Two women were fined £200 each by Derbyshire Police for driving five miles from their home for a walk, while in Whitby officers have slammed people for going sledging. 

A witness said: ‘He was leisurely cycling with another guy with a beanie hat and chatting while around four security guys, possibly more, cycled behind them.

‘When I realised the person looked like Boris I cycled past them to hear his voice and be sure it’s him. It was definitely Boris.

‘Considering the current situation with Covid I was shocked to see him cycling around looking so care free,’ added the woman, who asked not to be named.

Also considering he’s advising everyone to stay at home and not leave their area, shouldn’t he stay in Westminster and not travel to other boroughs?’

The PM’s spokesman was unable to give any information yesterday on why Mr Johnson had gone to Stratford and why it was within the rules.  

It is also not clear whether Mr Johnson was driven to the park with his bike, or cycled the whole way there and back. 

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron said: ‘Government guidance on travelling to exercise is as clear as mud. 

‘People are travelling hundreds of miles to the Lake District while others are afraid to drive 5 minutes to the local park. 

‘I’ve written to the Prime Minister, asking him to set out clear guidance once and for all.’

Covid is killing fewer healthy and under-60s in England now than it did during the first wave of the pandemic in spring, data shows 

Coronavirus is killing fewer healthy and younger people in England now than it did during the first wave of the pandemic in spring, analysis shows.

The risk of the virus to people without pre-existing health conditions and those under the age of 60 has always been small, with the disease preying on the elderly and patients with weakened immune systems.

But NHS England figures reveal that threat has become even smaller over time, with experts claiming it is a sign that doctors have become better at treating the virus.

People with no comorbidities made up 5 per cent of 25,080 total Covid deaths in the first wave, defined as from the beginning of the pandemic in March to May 19, according to analysis by The Times.

Whereas healthy Brits with no known health woes accounted for only 3 per cent of the 12,125 Covid deaths in the third wave, between December 2 and January 6. 

In a video shared to the PM’s official Twitter account yesterday evening – which features footage of Mr Johnson’s visit to Bristol on Monday- the PM heaped praise on the Government’s vaccine programme.

But he warned Britons that it should not lead to complacency, as the new Covid variant is still spreading rapidly. 

Mr Johnson said: ‘Hi folks. I am here at this amazing Bristol mass-vaccination centre in a football stadium and it’s one of the 50 that we are going to be rolling out by the end of the month to help all the 1,000-plus GP surgeries, the 233 hospital sites, plus the 200 pharmacies.

‘And that’s, of course, just a start that we’re using to dispense the vaccine.

‘As I speak to you this morning I think we’ve done about 2.4 million jabs, 2 million people in the country already who have been vaccinated, and we will be massively ramping that up in the course of the next few weeks as we get up to, we hope, 15 million by the middle of February.

‘And that’s a very ambitious programme, we’re confident we can do it. 

‘But, as we get the jabs into people, it’s incredibly important that we don’t lose focus on the pandemic that is still, alas, surging in so many parts of the country, still filling our hospitals with Covid patients, still causing huge, huge problems for our NHS.

‘So everybody has got to follow the guidance. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Along with his video, the PM tweeted: ‘As we get jabs into arms, we must not lose sight of the state of the pandemic – which is putting huge pressure on our NHS. 

‘So, please follow the rules and stay home to protect the NHS, and save lives.’   

Obey the rules or they’ll get tougher: PM’s warning as Whitty says we’re at the worst point of the pandemic

By Jason Groves, Political Editor for the Daily Mail 

Lockdown restrictions will be tightened again if the public flout the current rules, Boris Johnson warned yesterday.

The Prime Minister said ‘complacency’ among the public could plunge the country into a deeper crisis at what was already a ‘very perilous moment’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night reinforced his message, saying so-called support bubbles were the only lockdown exemption guaranteed to stay.

Boris Johnson was spotted at the Olympic Park seven miles away from Downing Street yesterday afternoon. Pictured, the PM cycling in Beeston last summer

Boris Johnson was spotted at the Olympic Park seven miles away from Downing Street yesterday afternoon. Pictured, the PM cycling in Beeston last summer

The warnings came amid mounting Government concern that the third lockdown may fail to bring the latest spike in coronavirus infections under control.

Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said Britain was ‘now at the worst point of this epidemic’ and urged people to stop seeing friends and family, even in the limited circumstances still allowed, saying every ‘unnecessary’ contact risked spreading the virus. 

Boris Johnson pedals into a storm over lockdown bike ride after he is spotted cycling SEVEN MILES from Downing Street in the Olympic Park 

Boris Johnson has been accused of undermining his own lockdown rules after it was revealed that he went cycling seven miles from Downing Street for exercise.

The Prime Minister was spotted on his bike at the Olympic Park in east London on Sunday afternoon with his security detail.

Wearing a Transport for London hat and a face mask, he rode around the site in Stratford, east London, at around 2pm.

A few hours after his ride, Mr Johnson held a meeting with Cabinet colleagues to discuss the current lockdown.

Last night, Hammersmith Labour MP Andy Slaughter said: ‘Once again it is ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ from the Prime Minister.

‘London has some of the highest infection rates in the country. Boris Johnson should be leading by example.’

A source told the Evening Standard that the PM was exercising, adding: ‘But he did note how busy the park was and he commented on it at the meeting last night.

‘He was concerned about if people were following the rules and was concerned after his ride around the park.’

Downing Street declined to comment on the journey, and would not clarify whether the PM cycled to the park or was driven there in a vehicle for his bike ride. 

He added: ‘The key thing to understand is that when you meet people from another household under any circumstances – and they’re very often your friends, your family – but those are the kind of situations where the virus is passed on.’

He added: ‘It doesn’t care who you are, it doesn’t care whether they’re your friends. If you meet someone from another household, the virus has an opportunity to be transmitted.’

Ministers are considering a number of further restrictions, including closing the exemption that allows two people from different households to exercise together outdoors.

Government sources yesterday said Mr Johnson was ‘reluctant’ to scrap the exemption, which provides one of the few remaining lifelines for the lonely.

But there are fears it is muddying the ‘stay at home’ message, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman yesterday struggling to clarify whether two friends can take drinks with them on a walk.

Mr Hancock said the exemption was under review as it was being abused. ‘We have been seeing large groups… and you should be two metres apart from the other person. If there are too many people breaking this rule then we are going to have to look at it.

‘But, I don’t want to do that because for many people, being able to go for a walk with a friend… is their only social contact.’

Pre-school nurseries and places of worship could also face restrictions if cases continue to rise – but Mr Hancock said support bubbles were sacrosanct.

The arrangement allows those living alone or with babies to link up with one other household for support.

The Prime Minister and his fiancee Carrie Symonds are among those who have taken advantage of the system, forming a support bubble with Miss Symonds’s mother following the birth of their son Wilfred in April.

Ministers hope the blunt messaging on the NHS crisis and tougher rule enforcement will persuade people to comply with the letter and spirit of the lockdown.

But Labour yesterday called for the rules to be tightened, including the closure of nurseries.

Mr Hancock last night suggested a major relaxation of the rules was unlikely until all over-60s have been vaccinated – which the new plan suggests won’t be until at least April.

He said it was only at this point that ministers could be absolutely sure that hospital admissions from the virus would start to fall.

But the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, who oppose lockdown, last night said it should be lifted as soon as the 13million most vulnerable are vaccinated – which the Prime Minister pledged to achieve by February 15.

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