Welsh Government’s cabinet met today to discuss tougher measures to help reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading at supermarkets.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday they wanted “to be confident” that supermarkets are being run in Wales today in the same way they were back in the first spring lockdown.
At that point many stores had one way systems in place as well as staff outside stores to ensure capacity limits were strictly maintained.
This comes as Morrisons today said it will bar customers who refuse to wear face coverings from its UK shops amid rising coronavirus infections.
The cabinet met this afternoon to talk about how rules could be tightened in Wales – while UK Government are considering similar measures in England.
Discussions will also consider workplace regulations.
Officials said an update on the new rules in Wales is expected although said this would not come today.
In Wales non-essential retail, hospitality venues, licensed premises and leisure facilities will remain closed for another three weeks but stores like supermarkets and other “essential” shops can stay open.
Welsh Government has not confirmed the additional measures but retail sources say these are the steps that may be considered.
- Stronger regulations to help support the enforcement of the wearing of face masks in stores – although concerns are raised in the industry about retail staff being asked to enforce these.
- Lower limit on the number of shoppers allowed in a store at any time.
- Supermarkets advised to return to one-way systems in stores. These were common in the first lockdown but many stores later removed these.
- There may also be stronger rules or advice on protecting staff, both on the shop floor, in warehouses and food production sites.
Sara Jones, Head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers continue to take coronavirus measures very seriously and consistently uphold high hygiene and safety standards.
“Firms have already invested hundreds of millions on safety measures including perspex screens, additional cleaning, and implementing social distancing.”
Meanwhile, Morrisons said it had “introduced and consistently maintained thorough and robust safety measures in all our stores” since the start of the pandemic.
But it said: “From today we are further strengthening our policy on masks.”
Morrisons’ chief executive, David Potts said: “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.”
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