Richmondshire supermarkets to be inspected for Covid-19 rule breaches

File pic. Photo: Nickolay Romensky.

Supermarkets are to face increased inspections from North Yorkshire County Council officials to ensure they are complying with Covid-19 regulations.

Ministers have told North Yorkshire County Council along with all other local authorities to check that supermarkets are enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and limits on shopper numbers.

Because of their essential role, food retailers have remained open throughout the pandemic and Richard Webb, the county’s director for health and adult services, said they have a “great responsibility” to make sure Covid-safety rules are followed.

Mr Webb said trading standards and environmental health teams have already begun carrying out inspections, with more than 100 visits planned over the coming weeks.

“We welcome the Secretary of State highlighting this issue,” he said.

“We also thank those supermarkets and other retailers who are making their shops Covid-secure. This gives shoppers real confidence.

“We must do everything possible to reduce transmission of this deadly virus  and supermarkets have a big role to play and must take their responsibility extremely seriously.

“We are asking supermarkets in our county to review and step-up their safety arrangements and our trading standards officers are working with district council environmental health teams to provide the necessary advice and carry out safety reviews.”

Under health and safety laws, councils have powers to issue improvement notices to retailers failing to comply with regulations and shoppers with safety concerns are being urged to report any suspected breaches.

Mr Webb added: “Supermarkets should ensure that people wear masks indoors at all times, that hand sanitiser is in plentiful supply at the entrance and exit of the store and that people are encouraged to use it.

“Supermarkets should also have the means to ensure people maintain a safe social distance of at least two metres when going about their shopping.”

Before the government ordered all councils to carry out the stepped-up inspections, Mr Webb said health teams had already completed more than 100 routine visits to large retailers in North Yorkshire over Christmas and New Year to make sure they could manage increased footfall and transmission risk.

Not long after the festive period, both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s announced that they would increase efforts to enforce lockdown rules such as the mandatory wearing of masks, except for those people with medical exemptions.

Morrisons said customers who refuse to wear a mask without a medical exemption will be told to leave, while Sainsbury’s said security staff will “challenge” shoppers who are not wearing masks or who enter stores in groups.


  1. I could have told you this was a problem in the 1st lockdown 2019.
    I experienced several incidents in a local supermarket and when i raised the matters
    with staff or management i got the impression that they thought i was crazy!!!
    Where were the Inspectors then?. After a year it has dawned on someone there is a problem.
    They should have been shut down.

  2. I could have told you this was a problem in the 2020 lockdown.
    I experienced several incidents in a local supermarket. When i raised the matters with staff or management i had the impression they thought i was crazy!
    Where were the Inspectors then? It has taken someone in authority a year to realise there is a problem in these places.

  3. I’ve been in 2 Richmond shops recently and seen a member of staff either not wearing the mask or wearing under the nose. In the smaller shop I asked the offender if he should be wearing it. The shop owner was present at the time

  4. They should go to Tesco. During the first and second lockdowns and during the tier systems the “click & collect/home delivery ” staff were all over the place in the aisles. They were all going the opposite way to customers trying to follow the one way system and many were without masks. Hopefully they now all have to wear masks. We realise they have a job to do but surely they should be following the same rules as shop floor customers. We have purposely kept away from Tesco this lockdown and have supported Aldi, they seem to do their best with a restricted space but still need to monitor customers entering the store.

Comments are closed.