I visited Sainsbury’s as face masks became law and and it wasn’t as I expected

Since the start of lockdown supermarket customers have experienced various changes to their normal grocery shop.

And now, let’s not beat around the bush, the new law requiring people to wear a face covering whilst in shops has caused quite the stir, especially as you’re at risk of getting slapped with a £100 fine if you don’t.

But surely, wearing a face mask whilst picking up some groceries isn’t that much of a big deal, right?

There was only one way to find out.

Armed with my face mask, I visited Sainsbury’s in Chislehurst, Bromley, on a wet Saturday (July 25) evening to pick up some essentials – the day after the new face mask law came into force.

Sainsbury’s shares clear signage on the new rules

This particular South East London store isn’t huge but can get very busy at times, I know this as I used to work there back in my college days (that’s a story for a different day!).

When entering Sainsbury’s there are bold signs at the doors directing shoppers to use face masks while in store, along with a staff member greeting customers from behind her face covering.

As I did a few circuits of the shop, I observed customers and their faces to see if they were abiding by the rules, and the truth is – most people were.

All around me people embraced their new face accessories, from funky coverings to the traditional surgical masks the people of Chislehurst have got it covered.

Just a handful of shoppers went without them, although I wasn’t prepared to question their motives.

The tannoy frequently rung out with various messages reminding customers to keep a distance, to wear a face mask but also thanked shoppers for their co-operation. A nice touch.

‘Buying alcohol with my face covered’

The real test came when I purchased a small amount of beer, considering half of my face is covered would they want to see if I’m old enough to actually buy alcohol?

I’m no spring chicken, but looks can be deceiving when you can only clearly see someone’s eyes and forehead.

I took my basket to the self checkout and after scanning my items, my four bottles of Corona needed authorising, and I was challenged.

Sainsbury’s in Chislehurst has adapted well to the new face mask rules
(Image: Angie Quinn)

The very kind member of staff, who was wearing a mask, sweetly explained she would need to see my ID as it’s difficult making a judgement of someone’s age if they are wearing a face mask.

Without hesitation I gladly showed her my driving licence (this doesn’t happen to me anymore!), and she explained: “Everyone has been really good at wearing face masks, of course you get a couple of people who don’t and they say they can’t breathe, but you have to give some people the benefit of the doubt, overall it’s been fine.”

Shopping at Sainbury’s whilst wearing a face mask was a complete breeze. I didn’t overhear any shoppers complaining and they seemed to be going about their day like normal.

I was surprised at how well people have adapted to wearing face masks in a supermarket in the space of just one day. It was business as usual.

The new rules have been well-received by shoppers, and its improved the supermarket experience for more vulnerable people, plus everything just seems more hygienic!

The only thing I left Sainsbury’s feeling disappointed about – I forgot to buy the dog food.

My London – Bromley