Sheffield man warns community could be 'at risk' of local lockdown due to shoppers not wearing masks
A Sheffield man has warned his community could be ‘at risk’ of a lockdown due to the high volume of shoppers not wearing masks in his local Asda.
Regular Asda shopper Gary Harrison, 56, has stopped visiting the superstore on Handsworth Road after he was shocked by the vast numbers of customers not wearing a mask which he felt was going unchallenged by staff.
The engineering specialist who lives in the community, is concerned that the number of non-mask wearers in supermarkets could put Handsworth at risk of a local lockdown if nothing is done about it.
It became mandatory for customers to wear face masks or coverings in supermarkets, shops and on public transport from July 24 – unless you have a specific medical exemption or are aged 11 and under.
Gary explained why he felt ‘safer’ shopping in Morrison’s, who have a member of staff standing by the store entrance and ‘more’ people wearing face coverings compared to Asda where he used to usually shop.
"The amount of people that now just seem to shop there without any care for facial wear is quite obvious and no one seems to be taking any concern from Asda's perspective with regards to that.
"I would prefer to avoid a situation where that happens in my community.
"I think it [a local lockdown] is a risk, I don't know what percentage of risk that is but I guess time will tell.
“I am fairly pragmatic about the whole pandemic but the rules are there for a reason and we either all follow them or we all disregard them.
"The people who are choosing not to do that [wearing a mask] have the potential of putting us back into a position where I have to queue outside just because they decide it is not important enough or they don't have to follow the rules so they don't wear a mask."
The 56-year-old has called for police officers to stand outside the front of shops and hand out £100 fines for every person not wearing a mask without a medical exemption.
Gary believes supermarkets have a responsibility to challenge non-mask wearers in their store.
"It feels like a slap in the face”, he added.
"I think it is disappointing from a society perspective that we have certain individuals who feel that these rules just do not apply to us.
"It is equally disappointing that we have large operations like Asda that feel they have no responsibility for the community that they support to enforce or try and enforce."
An Asda spokesperson 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.
"We strongly encourage all customers to wear a face covering and are communicating this through point of sale signs in every store and via Asda FM, our in-store radio channel.
"Masks are also available to buy at the front of stores for any customers that do not have their own face covering.”