Former nurse slams Lidl’s ‘unacceptable response’ to Sheffield shoppers not wearing masks

A former nurse in Sheffield says staff at Lidl claimed they were powerless to act when she pointed out shoppers failing to wear masks.

By Robert Cumber
Thursday, 11th February 2021, 9:57 pm

Angela Snell has branded their response ‘unacceptable’ and told how it has left her feeling scared to shop at the Halifax Road store near Southey Green.

The 65-year-old retired nurse, who worked at Weston Park Hospital among other places, said: “I went about two weeks ago and there must have been half a dozen people without face masks.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

The Lidl store on Halifax Road in Sheffield, where former nurse Angela Snell says many customers are failing to wear masks (pic: Google)

"There was one woman shopping with two men and none of them had masks and they weren’t keeping their distance at all.

"I felt quite unsafe but when I said something to a member of staff he told me ‘they’re nothing but morons but we can’t do anything about it’.

"I thought ‘that’s not very good’ so I called the customer helpline and the woman said they should be questioning people coming into the store without masks on and she would look into it.

"I went back yesterday, Monday, February 8, hoping it would be a bit different but it was no better and when I raised it again in store I was told they’d had a memo round advising them they couldn’t say anything.

"To me, it’s not acceptable that anyone can go into that store without a face mask and know they’ll get away with it.

"We’ve got so close to getting the vaccine and I would hate for anything to happen. It’s not just me. There are lots of people out there who are much more vulnerable and probably don’t feel very comfortable at all.

"It’s a completely different experience at Aldi, where they have someone on the door checking people are wearing masks and ensuring it’s one customer at a time.”

Ms Snell told how she had reported the issue to Lidl’s customer helpline again and will not return until she has received a satisfactory response. She has also contacted South Yorkshire Police and raised the matter with her MP, Gill Furniss.

Shoppers are required to wear masks unless they are exempt, for reasons including certain illnesses and disabilities, and people who fail to do so without a reasonable excuse can be fined £200.

A spokesman for Lidl said: “At Lidl GB, our top priority remains the health and safety of our customers and colleagues. As such, we have continued to implement a range of social distancing and Covid-19 secure measures across all of our stores.

“This includes positioning security guards or designated team members at entrances during peak times to regulate customer numbers and to remind those not wearing a face covering of the Government guidance and their own responsibility to keep themselves and others safe. We also remain mindful of those who come under Government exemptions such as customers with hidden disabilities.

“To clarify, whilst supermarkets cannot enforce the wearing of face coverings, the authorities have the power to issue either a fine or fixed penalty to those who do not comply and are not exempt. To help communicate the regulations we have signage in place across all of our stores and have issued updates on social media and our website.

“We can confirm that we have since taken the opportunity to raise these concerns with our regional team.”