Iceland director reveals staff shortages due to 'pingdemic'

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Supermarket giant Iceland is ignoring the new coronavirus restriction rules which are being introduced this week. It comes as the boss of the food chain said he won’t ask his staff to enforce the rule of shoppers having to wear a mask inside his stores, as he wants to focus on “encouraging people to shop [and] feel comfortable” doing so in a bit to help the “long-term recovery of the high street”. 

Richard Walker, the Managing Director of Iceland, said those working on the shop floors could not be asked to intervene if they spot someone shopping and not wearing a mask. 

He said: “We fully support the reintroduction of compulsory face masks in shops. 

“However, we won’t be asking our store colleagues to police it.

“Our store teams, alongside all retail workers, have shown heroic efforts in terms of ensuring safety for customers and building back consumer confidence and it’s crucial that we stay focused on the long-term recovery of the high street.

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“We need to continue to encourage people to shop in stores if they feel comfortable, and I’m hopeful that the latest guidelines won’t discourage customers from doing so.” 

Iceland is not the only supermarket who will not enforce Government advice.

Co-op has also said they would not be enforcing face coverings in their stores. 

They also won’t refuse to serve a customer if they aren’t wearing one. 

The British Retail Consortium said it is the police’s job to enforce the measure, adding: “Customers are asked to respect the rules and be considerate to their fellow shoppers and to hard-working shop staff.”

It comes as masks are being re-introduced when shopping and using public transport, to help tackle the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, the Prime Minister has said. 

Anyone caught flouting the rules could be fined between £20 and £6,400. 

Masks have remade compulsory on London’s Tube system for many months. 

But figure released have showed only 108 people out of millions who travelled on the capital’s underground network were removed for not wearing a face covering. 

Face coverings won’t be compulsory in hospitality settings such as pubs or restaurants. 

MP’s will vote on the new restrictions within 28 days after legislation is placed before the Commons tomorrow. 

Other rules being introduced from tomorrow include changes to travel. 

Anyone arriving in the UK must take a two-day PCR test and self-isolate until the results arrive. 

Ten countries have also been put on the red list.

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