Convenience stores were less vigilant than supermarkets on the enforcement of face coverings, according to data from Storecheckers.

The mystery shopping company visited 120 stores consisting of convenience stores, smaller multiple-operated sites and forecourts last month. It found 27% of customers in convenience stores failed to wear face coverings, compared to 19% in forecourts and 6% in supermarkets. Storecheckers claimed staff were unresponsive to customers who did not wear a face covering.

The research also found 18% of convenience store staff had not worn face coverings during the period, compared to 10% in forecourts and 9% in supermarkets.

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Thirty eight per cent of convenience stores had hand sanitiser available, while this figure rose to 48% for forecourts, and 93% for supermarkets.

Independent convenience store owners have previously raised concerns about potential abuse from customers when asking them to wear a face covering.

The data comes as some store owners reported mystery visits from councils inspecting Covid-19 compliance.

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One retailer told betterRetailing: “The council visited me one day to say they had sent a mystery shopper following one complaint that my store wasn’t complying with guidelines.

“They said I had signs up, a queue system in place and staff were compliant. They had no issue and said they wouldn’t take any further action.”

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