Face mask policy: Tesco, Asda and M&S update shopping rules as restrictions change

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Wearing a face mask when out in public is now second nature to many Britons. Marks & Spencer has issued new guidance as shopping rules change in some parts of the UK. What are the rules in Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s?

Face masks have gradually become compulsory in more places as the coronavirus crisis has continued.

Since July 10, covering up in shops has been a requirement in Scotland.

Shoppers in England have needed to wear a face covering since July 24.

Those in Northern Ireland have also had new face mask rules introduced this week which means wearing a mask is compulsory in stores.

Marks & Spencer

The retailer has responded to the change and given new advice to those shopping in retail stores and M&S Foodhalls.

A statement said: “From 10 August, it became mandatory for customers in Northern Ireland to wear face coverings in shops, as is already the case in England and Scotland (with the exception of young children or people with certain health conditions).

“Where it is mandatory we would ask all customers to follow this, unless they have a health condition that exempts them. Where government guidance is that M&S colleagues should wear face coverings (for example in Scotland), they will do so.

“As with customers, the government has made exemptions for some colleagues.”

The retailer also explained customers at M&S cafés do not have to wear a mask when dining in.


In parts of the UK where masks are compulsory, there are signs placed at the front of stores to remind customers of the rules.

Packs of face masks will also be available at the front of stores that can be opened when entering the store and purchased later.

Posting on Twitter, Tesco said: “To help keep you and our colleagues safe in-store and reflect the latest government guidance, customers will be required to wear face coverings while shopping from Friday, 24 July.

“Face coverings will be available to purchase in-store and online.”


The supermarket chain will continue to update policy in line with advice from the government.

A statement said: “Throughout the pandemic our customers have embraced many new rules to help keep everyone safe in our stores, and we are confident they will continue to show care and consideration for each other by wearing a face covering when they visit our stores.

“Whilst we will do all we can to strongly encourage customers to wear a face covering inside our stores, it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to police and enforce the new rules.”


Sainsbury’s has said it will not challenge customers who do not wear a mask in stores.

Responding to a post on Twitter, it said shoppers were trusted to cover up if they could.

The post read: “We won’t be challenging customers without a mask when they enter or when they are in store since they may have a reason not to wear a mask.”

However, it is still following government advice and those who are able to wear a covering should do so.

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