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Supermarket in France tries to ban masks inside ‘to fight shoplifting’

The director of the Carrefour franchise store in southeast France said that people wearing masks during Covid had made it more difficult to identify thieves

The director of the franchise Carrefour shop said that shoppers wearing masks made it harder to identify shoplifters, but the management has now said that the signs have been removed Pic: Maria Sbytova / Shutterstock

A Carrefour supermarket in southeast France has attempted to ban customers from wearing masks completely in a bid – the shop director said – to combat shoplifting.

The manager of the shop in Grenoble (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) put up signs at the entrance saying that masks were “forbidden” inside and that customers’ “faces must remain visible” when shopping.

Speaking to Libération, the director admitted to putting up the signs and said that the measure was “only taken for security reasons”. He said that when masks were obligatory (due to the Covid crisis), it had no longer been possible to differentiate between honest customers and shoplifters.

He said: “When I see suspicious people, who are coming in with sunglasses, a hat, and a mask, and I see that they are clearly not doing it to protect themselves against Covid, I can show them the signs at the entrance.”

The manager said that he was invoking the law of October 11, 2010, which bans the covering of faces in public. 

However, this law does not apply to face coverings worn for health reasons, and refers more to the use of several items (such as a hat and sunglasses) to obscure the face deliberately.

Wearing a mask to protect against Covid has no longer been legally required in France since mid-March, but people who wish to continue wearing one are free to do so.

Carrefour has now confirmed that the signs at the Grenoble store have been removed. 

It told Libération that the rule was the result of “individual and personal initiative of a franchise director”.

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