A PENSIONER says she was told to leave a city shop after she questioned a staff member on why customers weren’t wearing face coverings.

Stephanie Randle, 83, who was shopping for her niece’s birthday, said she was left upset after visiting newly opened House of Tweed in Worcester High Street on Friday morning.

Mrs Randle, who is categorised as vulnerable due to suffering from bronchitis and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, said she approached a member of staff after she spotted two women who weren’t wearing face masks.

“I told the lady on the counter quietly that I was concerned there were customers with no masks on," she said. "She said it was nothing to do with her and nothing to do with me either. But I said it is to do with me as it’s my health involved, and I have to be very careful.

“By this time she had raised her voice so much that these ladies turned round and waved their lanyards which they had round their necks, which shows they're exempt and don’t have to wear masks. That’s fine, they’re entitled to be in the shop. But a lanyard round their neck doesn’t protect me like a mask does.

“I said to the shop lady I was leaving as it was a risk to my health. She said I had insulted her customers. She then marched me out of the door and told me I wasn’t allowed in. By the time I got home I was shaking.”

She added: “It has affected me quite bad. I have never in all my life been thrown out of a shop." Saturday night when I went to bed I was going over and over it in my mind, I couldn’t get to sleep.”

A spokesman for House of Tweed said: “We were upset to be contacted by Stephanie’s son on Sunday evening. We have had nothing but positive responses to our shops and Worcester in particular. Since the COVID-19 regulations have been put in place, we take wearing face coverings and all COVID-19 safety regulations incredibly seriously. “All our staff members wear face coverings at all times, the number of customers allowed in the shop at one time is highly limited and hand sanitiser is accessible at numerous points around the shop. We also (as everyone should) actively encourage all our customers to wear masks before they enter our store.

“The customers without the masks in this situation were exempt, displaying the lanyards that show they are exempt. Unfortunately, Stephanie was unable to see this as the customers has their back to her and were facing the back of the shop. It’s an extremely difficult situation for shop owners at the moment as we cannot legally enforce that customers wear masks.

“Stephanie was asked to leave as she expressed she had underlying health conditions and that the ladies in the store who were exempt, were increasing her risk. We completely understand her concern and we are so sorry that the situation escalated to her being asked to leave.

“We called Stephanie this morning (Monday) and resolved the issue on a personal level. We didn’t want to cause any distress to Stephanie and we are so sorry that it did. We do not make a habit of this at all at House Of Tweed and we value all of our customers’ wellbeing and send our best to Stephanie.”


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