Shops and train companies ask people to keep wearing masks after Plan B rules go

Sainsbury's, Wilko, Waitrose, Morrisons and John Lewis will continue to ask customers in England to wear masks when Plan B rules expire on Thursday.

Rail operators have also taken this stance, asking travellers to wear face coverings "out of the courtesy of others".

Plan B rules, introduced in December amid a spike in Omicron infections, require people to wear masks in shops and on public transport. From Thursday, the government will no longer enforce the guidelines as the variant is "in retreat".

Boris Johnson added, however, that people will be "encouraged" to continue wearing masks in enclosed spaces or when coming into contact with people they do not usually meet.

Morrisons told ITV News it will follow this guideline and "encourage" customers to wear a mask in store after Thursday.

Likewise, Sainsbury's said: “Safety remains our highest priority. From Thursday, we’re asking our customers and colleagues in England to continue to wear a face covering in our stores if they are able to.”

Retailer Wilko recognised that masks will no longer be a legal requirement, but said its "still recommending face coverings for our team members and customers in busy indoor spaces, unless they are exempt.”

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Meanwhile, John Lewis, which operates department stores and supermarket Waitrose, said it will be "suggesting people wear masks" in both stores from Thursday. It, however, acknowledged mask-wearing will be down to an individual's personal choice

Face coverings will also no longer be compulsory on public transport from Thursday, but a rail spokesperson told ITV News: “Train companies will be asking passengers to wear face coverings out of courtesy to others, unless exempt.”

On Thursday, the requirement to show a Covid pass to enter large venues like nightclubs and guidance for staff and pupils to wear masks in communal areas will also be scrapped in England.