Sainsbury’s vs the unmasked raider


So off I go to our local Sainsbury’s in the middle of the day to refresh our stock of bread and wine (not for communion). When I enter I say that I am exempt from the wearing of a mask. Instead of the nice lady there is a rather hostile man who tells me  I have to wear a mask or wear a lanyard. I say that I don’t. It is enough to tell him I am exempt.  He follows me in and repeats the request. I repeat my answer.

In the store an assistant tells me I have no mask.  I repeat the above. A third one does the same and says that they will not serve me if I  do not wear one.

At the check out there are three staff members waiting for me including the same man who accosted me at the entrance. I insisted on my rights. He waves me away angrily and assists with the self service check out (the wine).

I said that if this happens again I will contact the manager. He said you are welcome to do so. He claimed to know the law. I said he did not.

I arrived home and after finding I could not speak to the local manager wrote a letter of complaint to Sainsbury’s head office as follows:

Dear Sirs
I entered the store as usual this morning and announced that I was exempt.
Instead of the usual nod I was told I had to wear a lanyard.
I replied that this was not correct.
I was pursued through the store by three people who told me they could refuse service.
I was eventually served though I would describe the atmosphere as ‘hostile’
According to the government

If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering:

  • you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this
  • you do not need show an exemption card

This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.

However, some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.

Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law
I am indeed in the vulnerable category. I do not wish to carry around a card.
I feel the staff were ‘over enthusiastic’ and I felt shaken.   Are you allowed to go over and above the law?
Thank you
Brian Snellgrove
We shall see what happens.  I felt disturbed for about an hour after the encounter so the wine came in useful.