Published: 14:52, 18 January 2021
| Updated: 16:54, 20 January 2021
Footage has emerged of police officers ejecting a woman from Sainsbury's in Dartford for refusing to wear a mask.
Under current Coronavirus restrictions a face mask or covering must be worn in shops and supermarkets at all times but children under the age of 11 and people with certain medical exemptions may be exempt.
Government guidance states people not wearing a mask with medical exemptions are not legally required to carry an exemption card or badge.
Footage posted on Reddit yesterday showed a supermarket shopper engaged in a heated exchange with two officers from Kent Police in Sainsbury's in Dartford on Saturday over the matter.
In the video the woman, who has a Welsh accent, refuses to provide evidence of her medical exemption and quizzes both officers on their request, including repeatedly asking whether they are doctors.
She tells officers "you have no right to ask me what my disability is" before claiming "it is against the law".
Both officers then explain to the lady that they have been called by the manager of the store.
"Regardless of whether or not you are wearing a mask or not the manager has told you that he is not going to serve you," the officer explains.
The woman then attempts to brandish a piece of paper which she says explains the law on providing it.
However, the officers then escort the woman, who is also accompanied by a man, away from the premises.
The woman continues to object and claims "it is on the government website which you should know about and this is in fact discrimination," before adding "I will be taking this to court".
The officers then reply "okay see you in court have a good day" before accepting the shopper's request to record their ID badges.
According to the government's guidance on face coverings "you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering."
But it goes on to state "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.
When it comes to enforcement it adds: "Premises where face coverings are required should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law.
"The police can take measures if members of the public do not comply with this law without a valid exemption and transport operators can deny access to their public transport services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to wear one or leave a service."
So although there is no legal requirement for people to carry a badge or similar the force may still ask to see some proof of exemption, and may ask someone to leave the relevant place and can even issues fines if this isn’t provided.
Police spokesman Vicki Foster said: "At 10.55am on Saturday 16 January 2021 Kent Police was called to Sainsbury's in Dartford to assist staff, who had asked a man and a woman to leave due to them not wearing a face mask.
"Officers attended and spoke to the couple, who were then escorted from the shop. No further action will be taken."
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “In line with government guidance, we are asking all customers to wear a face covering and to shop alone when in our stores. We are aware of what happened in the Sainsbury’s Dartford Superstore and are looking in to it.”