Thank you for contacting me about hygiene in supermarkets.
I understand your concern that supermarkets should be maintaining good hygiene and cleanliness. It is important that customers who are unable to shop online, feel safe to shop in supermarkets.
While individual measures continue to be important, such as wearing a face mask, washing your hands regularly and avoiding contact with your face, supermarkets are constantly reviewing their safety procedures. I understand there are concerns that supermarkets are becoming places where the virus could be spread more easily. Because of these concerns, some supermarkets have now tightened their enforcement procedures to ensure that when people are going into supermarkets the rules are being adhered to. I would urge everyone to continue to follow the rules and always wear a mask when shopping, unless exempt for medical reasons.
I also know, for example, that some supermarket branches are giving shoppers wipes to wipe their trollies. They have also put in place queue control methods, limiting the number of shoppers inside and provided markers for shoppers to queue both outside the shop and while waiting at a checkout. Some supermarkets, such as Aldi and Tesco, have erected plastic barriers at checkouts, to protect shoppers and staff. These measures are being phased in and therefore do vary from store to store.
As the virus is spread through droplets, keeping 2 metres apart from other shoppers remains a key method of stemming the flow of the virus. However, if you cannot keep 2 metres apart from other shoppers, you should stay more than one metre away, while taking appropriate mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission. Physical contact with food products is unavoidable, but it is important that shoppers avoid touching their faces while shopping and wash their hands as soon as they are home. With the purchased food and drink, it is important to wash your hands before and after preparing a meal.
As of 24 July 2020, it has become mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England. This move will help give shoppers more confidence to shop safely while also enhancing protection. Under the new rules, should an individual refuse to wear a face covering they could face a fine of up to £200. Likewise, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities are also exempt. Some supermarkets have now tightened their enforcement procedures to ensure that when people are going into supermarkets the rules are being adhered to. I would urge everyone to continue to follow the rules and always wear a mask when shopping, unless exempt for medical reasons.
Supermarkets have said they will continue to monitor the fast-moving situation and will introduce stricter hygiene and safety controls if needed.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP