John Lewis Suspends Click & Collect to Reduce 'Non-Essential Travel'

John Lewis Suspends Click & Collect to Reduce 'Non-Essential Travel'
A man walks past a John Lewis department store, closed-down due to lockdown laws, on Oxford Street in central London on April 27, 2020. (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Simon Veazey

Department store John Lewis has suspended its Click & Collect service, saying it wants to "encourage the public to stay at home" during England's third national lockdown.

The parent company also announced its Waitrose supermarkets would join other major chains in refusing entry to people without masks.

Like other department stores, John Lewis had closed its doors to customers under lockdown laws, but was allowed to continue with collections.

From Wednesday, all purchases will have to be delivered.

“We’ve listened carefully to the clear change in tone and emphasis of the views and information shared by the UK’s governments in recent days," said Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations at the John Lewis Partnership in a statement.

"While we recognise that the detail of formal guidance has not changed, we feel it is right for us—and in the best interests of our Partners and customers—to take proactive steps to further enhance our covid-security and related operational policies.”

Murphy added, “We also want to help the national effort by removing reasons for non-essential travel, so we have decided to suspend Click & Collect services from our John Lewis shops.”

John Lewis, the largest department store in the UK alongside Marks and Spencer, said it will also reduce the range of services carried out in customers' homes.

 A shopper wearing a protective face covering walks the aisles of a Tesco supermarket in London, on Dec. 14, 2020. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)
A shopper wearing a protective face covering walks the aisles of a Tesco supermarket in London, on Dec. 14, 2020. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

Waitrose will now have marshals at supermarket entrances, handing out free face coverings and denying entry to people who refuse to wear them, following similar decrees by other supermarkets in the last two days,

Laws enacted in the spring mandate face-coverings in indoor public areas, with exceptions, but stores have generally taken a light-touch approach, preferring to offer masks for free, but not to challenge.

In the last two days, most supermarkets have rolled out tougher enforcement policies.

The shift chimes with a tougher approach taken by police under England’s third lockdown to enforce laws aimed at stemming the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday, Tesco and Asda joined the other "big four" supermarkets in announcing that customers will not be allowed in without face coverings. Between them, they make up over two-thirds of the supermarket sector in the UK.
Aldi has also indicated it will not allow customers in without masks.

Supermarkets have said that the rule does not apply to people with legitimate medical exemptions, as stated in law.

However, they have not indicated what kind of proof of such exemptions would need to be provided and how they will handle the issue.

Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.