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John Lewis is suspending its click and collect services and tightening safety measures after a “change in tone” from the government over the virus. The department store will also pause in-home services, unless they are “essential to customers’ wellbeing”.

The retailer said it felt the changes were right with the country at a “critical point in the pandemic”. Waitrose, which belongs to the John Lewis Partnership, is tightening rules over facemasks.

It follows moves from the other supermarkets to make face masks mandatory for shoppers unless they have a medical exemption.

“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, Operations.

“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.”

John Lewis said click and collect would be switched off to new orders from the end of Tuesday. Existing orders and bookings for services, such as installing washing machines, will still be carried out, if customers wish to proceed, but there will be no further bookings for non-essential services.

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