Lancashire supermarket, Booths, which has stores in Lytham St Anne’s, has today hit the national headlines for turning away customers in nursing tunics and uniforms.
The story is centred upon one care worker, Joe-Ann Whittaker, who said she was left feeling ’embarrassed and upset’ when she wasn’t allowed inside a Booths store.
Booths, which has twenty eight stores across the north west, said its policy of having no medical uniforms in-store is in place to protect their customers.
However, the customer, Mrs Whittaker, told the Lancashire Evening Post ‘It was embarrassing and upsetting. What was I supposed to do, get changed in the car park?
‘We’re working long hours at the moment in very difficult circumstances and we don’t have the time to get changed.
‘We only get a half hour break for lunch. And there’s no way I’m taking my clothes off in a supermarket car park.’
Ms Whitaker said the security guard who denied her entry didn’t ask anyone if they could get her a sandwich while she waited outside.
She said her friend also went into the store in uniform on the same day and was told to get changed in her car.
Booths said it was following guidance issued by the Royal Preston and Fulwood Hall Hospitals to prevent infection.
A spokesperson said: ‘It is hugely regrettable that the customer felt unappreciated at this time. Booths pride themselves on looking after all customers within their communities.
We have now made practical arrangements in store to help accommodate similar situations in the future.
These are stressful and unprecedented times for health care workers, customers and our colleagues working hard to provide food.
Our amazing teams are adapting daily to meet the unprecedented multiple demands of this crisis and working night and day in very difficult circumstances to serve our customers safely.
At Booths we value the enormous contribution of all health workers, particularly at this critical time. However, Booths do need to stress the vital importance of good hygiene practices and ask that all health workers wear civilian clothes when in store.
Booths must prioritise the safety of all their colleagues and customers at all times.
This policy is to protect colleagues and customers from possible infection and is part of a range of hygiene and social distancing measures in place as directed from Public Health England. Booths are respecting the guidance that has been provided.
The policy applies to all health workers and will be in place during the coronavirus pandemic. However, Booths has introduced shopping hours for key workers’