Industry club wants to make masks compulsory in shops: ‘Then no discussions’ | Economy


Introducing a mandatory mask in all shops works a lot better than urgent advice to wear this face protection. That says Jan Meerman, director of InRetail, trade association of retailers.

Sanne Schelfaut

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According to Meerman, it is not up to entrepreneurs to keep customers out. “We are not going to refuse people. Not even at the door. The government’s advice to wear mouth masks in shops in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague creates arbitrariness. One retailer will enforce it strictly, the other will not. Customers then no longer understand it. You also get discussions, or worse, in your case. You don’t want that. That is why we think that the mouth masks advice should be off the table. The alternative? Well, a masking duty would work a lot better. Then you have clarity. It also works abroad, ” says the InRetail foreman.


Supermarkets support the advice of the cabinet and a number of mayors to wear a face mask in the shop in certain areas, but leave the choice to customers whether they actually do so. The cabinet reported yesterday that supermarkets may refuse customers who do not wear a face mask. The supermarket sector has also decided not to do this to avoid discussions at the door.

In supermarkets and shops in many other countries, such as here in France, the wearing of masks is mandatory. © Arie Kievit

The CBL, the supermarket industry club, says it is afraid of extra discussion and even aggression at the door if customers have to wear a mouth mask. The industry wants to protect personnel from this. Supermarkets advise employees in the relevant areas to wear a mouth mask, but employees can also decide for themselves whether they do this.

Elderly hour

The cabinet has announced that it wants to move towards special shopping hours for the elderly and vulnerable groups in consultation with the supermarkets. In the coming days, the supermarket sector wants to look at what is desirable and feasible in consultation with interest groups such as Anbo and the government. The goal of the supermarkets is to offer as much customization as possible. “We first want to talk to the target group before we start introducing the hours en masse. Previous experiences show that there is not a need for these elderly hours everywhere, ” says a CBL spokeswoman.

Emergency consultation

Later this week, InRetail and MKB, among others, are holding an emergency meeting with the cabinet about the face masks policy. Jan Meerman: ,, I bow deeply to Mark Rutte and his team, because they work very hard. Still, it would be better if they switch to a masking obligation. Such an obligation should not be enforced by an entrepreneur or by a mayor. This must be arranged centrally from The Hague. Now retailers are saddled with a dilemma, that is not possible. ”

Earlier today, retail chains such as Hema, Blokker and Intertoys announced that they would not refuse customers who do not wear a mouth mask. De Hema is investigating whether it is possible to offer mouth masks free of charge at the door, as well as disinfecting hand gel that customers can use.

“This would be an extra service. But we don’t know yet if it is possible. For example, it also depends on availability, ”explains a spokeswoman. In the relevant branches it is mandatory for Hema staff to wear a mask.

De Bijenkorf has a different policy and requires customers of the stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven to wear a mouth mask.

For now an advice

Healthcare minister Hugo de Jonge does not want to comment on the content of the announcements from supermarkets and other shops that they will simply admit customers who do not wear masks. “For the time being it is an advice”, he emphasized in a first reaction on Tuesday morning.

“There is an advice for shoppers to wear a mouth mask. But it is still advice. We first ask the OMT for advice and we will make a decision based on that. ”

De Jonge refers to an advice from the Outbreak Management Team this summer about the possibility of masks. “At the moment we see no reason, but that could be different if the contamination level increases. We now see that increase. We thought, given summer’s OMT advice, now might be the time to rethink the advice given before and see if it should be weighed again. In anticipation of this, an advice is still valid in the three regions referred to, ”said the minister.

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