Tue, 02 Feb 2021
A DISABLED woman has threatened legal action against a supermarket which reportedly ejected her for not wearing a face mask.
The Hungerford woman has suffered four heart attacks and suffers from cardiac arrhythmia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.
Although not required to do so by law or Government guidelines, she wears a lanyard which states she is exempt from wearing a mask designed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Despite this, she said she was asked to comply or to leave by staff and a store manager from Tesco in Hungerford.
The woman has asked not to be identified after she reportedly suffered a backlash on social media.
She told the Newbury Weekly News: “Ironically, the lanyard round my neck had been given to me by Tesco staff.
“But on this occasion I was approached by the store manager who said I would have to leave if I couldn’t wear a mask.
“He said two members of the local police team had been in that same morning and warned him not to allow anyone in without a mask.
“I feel people like myself are being discriminated against.
“This is against the law.”
She said the incident happened on Tuesday, January 12.
Her husband, who accompanied her that day, said: “I’m asthmatic so I am exempt, too, but I wore a mask on that occasion.
“We’re not trying to make political points here.
“The store manager was polite, but he was just plain wrong in law.
“We’ve written to [Newbury MP] Laura Farris, but haven’t received a reply yet. We accept she’s busy, of course.”
The husband said his wife was so upset by the experience that she suffered a 48-hour attack of arrhythmia, a condition to which she is prone ever since an operation to insert a cardiac stent.
He added that they are taking legal action against the supermarket giant.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have focused on ensuring everyone can get the food they need in a safe environment.
“To protect our customers and colleagues, we won’t let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance and we’re sorry [the woman] was unhappy with our service on this occasion.”
Government guidance states: “Premises where face coverings are required should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law.”
However it adds: “If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering you do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this. You do not need show an exemption card.
“This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.
“However, some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.
“Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law.”