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Majors clamp down as nursery continues ‘essential retail’ campaign

A number of major retailers have tightened up Covid-19 restrictions following the continued rise in positive cases, hospitalisation and deaths. John Lewis has suspended its click-and-collect option while Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose (owned by John Lewis & Partners) have all ‘banned’ shoppers without masks.

The additional restrictions reflect a recent change in tone from the British government as well as an explicit ban on click-and-collect for non-essential retail business from the Scottish government, leading to widespread speculation that the rest of the UK will follow suit.

However, while the covid restrictions in Scotland are being tightened, shops selling essential items will be able to continue offering a click-and-collect service – with retailers selling baby equipment included in the list of those deemed to be essential. Collections must take place outdoors and timings must be staggered to avoid queuing.

This is good news for the ongoing petition created by Megan Elliott of Bababoom, which is appealing for the government to change the rules so that baby and nursery stores are classed as essential retail right across the UK. Brands including Cosatto, Bebecar, Babymoov, Joolz, Roma Prams and BabyStyle have been lending their support to the petition.

We’ve listened carefully to the clear change in tone and emphasis of the views and information shared by the UK’s governments in recent days,” said Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations for John Lewis.

“While we recognise that the detail of formal guidance has not changed, we feel it is right for us – and in the best interests of our partners and customers – to take proactive steps to further enhance our Covid-security and related operational policies.”

The supermarkets have publicly stated that their security staff will deny entry to shoppers who are not wearing masks, unless they are exempt in line with government guidance.

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