Shocking video shows mask-less thug attack Co-op worker in row over face-covering

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Shocking video shows mask-less thug attack Co-op worker in row over face-covering

Shocking footage has emerged of a maskless thug attacking a Co-op worker after she asked him to wear a face-covering. The video shows an aggressive

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Shocking footage has emerged of a maskless thug attacking a Co-op worker after she asked him to wear a face-covering. 

The video shows an aggressive male customer repeating ‘why are you touching me, what are you touching me for?’ at a female shop worker, before flicking her in the face and walking out. 

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose have now all banned customers who do not wear face masks without a medical exemption, and are using bouncers to enforce the rules. 

But today an independent store boss complained that smaller stores could not afford to take similar measures so had to face dangerous customers themselves.   

The video shows an aggressive male customer repeating 'why are you touching me, what are you touching me for?' at a female shop worker, before flicking her in the face and walking out

The video shows an aggressive male customer repeating ‘why are you touching me, what are you touching me for?’ at a female shop worker, before flicking her in the face and walking out 

Where do you have to wear a face covering in England under law?

Here is a list of where face masks must be worn in England. Some of the venues are closed under law: 

  • public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
  • auction houses
  • premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
  • post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
  • estate and lettings agents
  • theatres
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • exhibition halls and conference centres

Paul Cheema, manager of Malcolm Stores in Coventry, told BBC Breakfast, who obtained the Co-op video: ‘As an independent retailer I haven’t got the funds like the big supermarkets to employ a security guard at the front door.

‘You’d be talking, three, four, five hundred pounds a week. You double that and it’s £1000. 

‘And if you look at the estate of independent retailers across the country, we just don’t have the funds to do that.’ 

Workers complained they are increasingly being threatened by angry customers refusing to follow the rules, as retail union Usdaw revealed 42% of violent incidents now relate to rows over face coverings. 

The thug in the video, which was filmed in September 24 at an unknown Co-op branch, later pleaded guilty to breaching Covid regulations alongside other offences and received a fine.    

Britain’s most senior police officer, Dame Cressida Dick, said Metropolitan Police officers would be prepared to assist shop staff if customers became ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when told they must wear a face covering.

Speaking about enforcement, Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh told talkRADIO this morning: ‘There are areas that are difficult for us. For instance, the wearing of masks and the people with exemption.

‘I have asked over and over again for the onus of exemption to be on the individual.

‘I know I’ve been criticised on social media etc. 

‘All I’m asking for is the fact that we carry on with the prosecution, and then you have an opportunity to show your exemption after.

‘So you’re not challenged in the street, you’re not embarrassed, you’re put on offer, you’re not made to feel belittled or anything like that – you have an opportunity after. 

That hasn’t been done. So it makes it far more difficult for my colleagues to act upon where they are.’

It came as shoppers and commuters travelling through London during rush hour this morning have been pictured not wearing face masks hours after the Home Secretary backed a tougher police approach to lockdown rules.

Priti Patel said a minority of the public are ‘putting the health of the nation at risk’, adding that officers are moving more quickly to issuing fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations.

 

The thug in the video, which was filmed in September 24 at an unknown Co-op branch and shared with BBC Breakfast , later pleaded guilty to breaching Covid regulations alongside other offences and received a fine

The thug in the video, which was filmed in September 24 at an unknown Co-op branch and shared with BBC Breakfast , later pleaded guilty to breaching Covid regulations alongside other offences and received a fine

Usdaw, which represents shopworkers, said it has been ‘inundated’ with complaints from its members, who say they are ‘deeply concerned’ for their safety as members of the public flout in-store Covid measures.

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.’

Yesterday, Tesco said it will not let customers who are not wearing a face covering into its stores unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance, as it asked shoppers to be ‘kind, patient and respectful’ towards staff.

A spokesman said: ‘We are also asking our customers to shop alone, unless they’re a carer or with children.

‘To support our colleagues, we will have additional security in stores to help manage this.’

Echoing Tesco’s calls for customers treat staff with respect, an Asda spokesman said: ‘If a customer has forgotten their face covering, we will continue to offer them one free of charge.

‘But should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so, our security colleagues will refuse their entry.’

Some commuters don't wear face masks on the Jubilee line in London today. It is not known whether they have an exemption

Some commuters don’t wear face masks on the Jubilee line in London today. It is not known whether they have an exemption

A security guard watches as a shopper leaves a Morrisons supermarket in Peckham, South East London, without a face mask this morning. It is not known if they have an exemption, or had just taken off their mask after leaving the store

A security guard watches as a shopper leaves a Morrisons supermarket in Peckham, South East London, without a face mask this morning. It is not known if they have an exemption, or had just taken off their mask after leaving the store

A security guard challenges a man for not wearing a mask at Morrisons in Peckham, South East London, this morning

A security guard challenges a man for not wearing a mask at Morrisons in Peckham, South East London, this morning

Waitrose is also following suit with marshals at entrances to offer disposable masks and deny entry to anyone refusing to comply.

It has also suspended click-and-collect services based within John Lewis department stores to avoid non-essential travel, while in-home services will be carried out only if ‘essential’ to customers’ wellbeing.

Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations at Waitrose parent company, the John Lewis Partnership, said: ‘By insisting on the wearing of face coverings, over and above the social distancing measures we already have in place, we aim to make our shops even safer for customers.’

Aldi said customers would no longer be permitted to enter stories without a face mask, unless they have a medical exemption, and they would be reminded to shop alone if possible.

Chief executive Giles Hurley said: ‘The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority. Wearing a mask is mandatory for everyone that shops at Aldi, except for the small number of people who have a medical exemption.’

They are the latest supermarkets to ban maskless shoppers, after Morrisons announced it would enforce the wearing of masks for customers unless they are medically exempt, while Sainsbury’s said its security staff at entrances will ‘challenge’ shoppers who are not wearing face coverings or who enter stores in groups.

Asked whether Co-op Food stores will take similar steps, chief executive Jo Whitfield said all customers ‘must take responsibility for wearing a face mask’.

She said: ‘We’ve increased our in-store messaging to remind customers and Government guidance does state that the police can take measures if members of the public don’t comply with this law.’

A search for an Asda delivery slot from a London address found that the next one available was on January 22. Customers could opt for click and collect tomorrow

A search for an Asda delivery slot from a London address found that the next one available was on January 22. Customers could opt for click and collect tomorrow

Sainsbury's home deliveries were booked until January 20. Click and collect was available from Saturday

Sainsbury’s home deliveries were booked until January 20. Click and collect was available from Saturday 

Lidl said they would ‘remind those not wearing a face covering of the Government guidelines and their own responsibility to keep themselves and others safe’.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said London officers are prepared to assist supermarket staff if customers become ‘obstructive and aggressive’ when told they must wear a face covering.

Her comments came as supermarket workers spoke of the difficulties in getting proof from customers who claim they are exempt from wearing a mask, while others have suffered abuse from shoppers after asking them to follow the rules.

A Tesco worker from Gloucestershire said she was ‘horrified’ by reactions 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.

Speaker advises MPs to wear masks ‘wherever possible’ in the Commons

MPs have been advised to wear face masks ‘wherever possible’ in the House of Commons chamber.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle suggested yesterday that the exception should be when MPs are called to speak.

People on the parliamentary estate have been encouraged to wear masks in recent months, although the Speaker’s words go a step further in pressing MPs to wear a face covering in the chamber.

The number of MPs on the floor of the House has been limited to 50 during the Covid-19 pandemic, with others contributing virtually via Zoom.

Opening business, Sir Lindsay told the Commons: ‘Can I just say to members, wherever possible please try and wear masks all the time, apart from obviously when we’re speaking. So please bear that in mind.’

Most MPs could be seen wearing masks during housing, communities and local government questions.

‘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.’

Policing minister Kit Malthouse said he believes all supermarkets should follow in Morrisons’ footsteps, suggesting some stores have become lax with safety measures.

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: ‘I think that, understandably, following the November lockdown there was an element of release and therefore the person at the door, the sanitation station, the traffic light system, the queues outside obviously receded a bit.

‘What we hope now, and I know all of them will, that they’ll see their responsibility and start to put those things back in place.’

Asked whether police should intervene, he said some officers have issued fines in retail settings, adding: ‘What we hope is the vast majority of people, or everybody, will be encouraged to do so by the shop owner.’

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.

Responding to a question from a food retail worker from Somerset on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: ‘All of us in society have relied on the extraordinary work of people who have kept retail for essential goods – food and so on – going, and I think all of us should thank you and your colleagues very much for that.

‘In terms of vaccination prioritisation… the initial wave is all around the people who have the highest risk of dying, it’s a clinical question, largely on age.

‘Obviously if someone falls into that, if they’re an older person working in retail or they have a health condition, they will be included in that.’

Prof Whitty added that as soon as the most vulnerable were vaccinated then ministers would decide who to prioritise next.

Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO said: ‘Keeping our front line colleagues safe is a priority as they work hard to make it as safe as possible to shop in our stores. 

‘To help us do that, all shoppers must take responsibility for wearing a face mask when shopping with us, except those with an exemption. 

‘We’ve increased our in-store messaging to remind customers and Government guidance does state that the police can take measures if members of the public don’t comply with this law. We’re all in this together, so would ask our customers to be kind and considerate to our store team, they’re doing their best to help.’

A customer at a Morrisons store in Leeds has his mask pulled down while shopping in the supermarket this morning

A customer at a Morrisons store in Leeds has his mask pulled down while shopping in the supermarket this morning

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