Shop worker receives complaints for asking customers to wear face masks

The Coop Daily shop in Beresford RoadPicture: Anthony Carroll

The Coop Daily shop in Beresford Road - Credit: Archant

A convenience store worker who received complaints for asking customers to wear masks has hit out at the "disrespectful" people who "refuse to follow the law".

Joanna Wright, 36, who lives in Cobholm in Great Yarmouth, has worked at the East of England Co-Op's food store on Beresford Road since last September.

She claimed "around a third" of customers point-blank refuse to wear face coverings, with many becoming defensive and aggressive when challenged.

"I was told by my manager I'd received complaints from two people for asking them to wear masks," she said.

"It's ridiculous, because as far as I'm concerned wearing one is the law unless you're exempt.

"One of my colleagues lost a family member to Covid in the first wave and we all know that even family members who aren't vulnerable can end up in intensive care."

A spokesperson for the chain said that while the majority of customers were "overwhelmingly considerate and supportive of the shop's colleagues", there were incidents of anti-social behaviour against staff.

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They continued: "We take this very seriously and it is one of the reasons we're not asking our colleagues to prevent access to customers not wearing a mask.

"Instead, we will offer a free disposable face covering and encourage its use. 

"We are incredibly grateful and proud of our colleagues who have been providing a vital service to our communities throughout the pandemic."

Police have issued a warning after a door-to-door cold caller has been offering to pressure wash dri

An East of England Co-Op spokesperson said: "We are pleased to note that this store has passed routine inspections conducted by Police and the local authority, which shows we are continuing to do all we can to keep customers and colleagues as safe as possible.” - Credit: Archant © 2005

But Ms Wright said it was "unfair" and "disrespectful" that customers were coming into the store without masks to begin with - and that she should be expected only to "encourage" their use.

"Why aren't people treating smaller convenience stores the same way they do supermarkets?" she said.

"Staff members inside smaller food shops are just as vulnerable to catching the virus as those who work in the bigger ones. We should be treated with respect."

Ms Wright did say that after new screens were installed at the Beresford Road branch on Tuesday, she felt more comfortable going into work.

She said: "These new screens are better because people can't move around them to get closer to me. I feel safer that way."

Woman wearing face mask push shopping cart in supermarket department store

Ms Wright said that people should be treating convenience stores the same way they would larger supermarkets - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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