As new rules on social gatherings come into force across England, fresh concerns have been raised as to whether shoppers will need to queue outside supermarkets.

On Monday, September 14, a new law came into effect, meaning people will only be allowed to gather in groups of six, rather than 30.

The rule change means shoppers won't be able to go the supermarket in large groups, although many chains such as Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's, introduced limits in March, urging only one person per household to visit if they can.

However, those who have a household bubble which is bigger than six people WILL be able to go shopping together.

So, now the new 'rule of six' is in force, will you need to queue to enter the supermarket again? We've put together what you need to know.

Will you have to queue at the supermarket now coronavirus rules have changed?

The one meter plus gap remains the same, so the answer is no. There won't be any new limits on exactly how many people can enter the supermarket.

What have the British Retail Consortium said?

A spokesperson from the British Retail Consortium - which represents supermarkets - said: "New Government restrictions on group sizes will not affect the current shopping experience.

"Since the pandemic began, retailers have invested millions in social distancing measures to make stores safe for customers."

What are the rules on face masks in supermarkets?

Face masks remain compulsory at all retail outlets across England, otherwise shoppers could face a hefty fine if caught by the police.

Here's a reminder of what some of the big supermarket chains are doing to keep shoppers and staff safe.


A statement on Asda's website states: "The Government’s new rules on face coverings in England were introduced on July 24 and all customers are required to wear a face covering when they visit one of our stores.

"Face coverings are also mandatory in Scottish stores and it is a requirement that customers who choose to wear a visor must also wear a face covering.

"On Friday, August 7, the Northern Ireland Executive also made it mandatory for customers to wear face coverings in shops, including Asda stores.

"Although face coverings are not mandatory in Wales, we would strongly recommend that customers visiting our stores wear a face covering to help keep everyone safe.

"In England and the devolved nations, customers can enter Asda stores without a face covering if they have a medical condition or invisible disability that prevents them from wearing a covering.

"To help our customers adjust to the new rules and in case someone forgets to bring their own covering, packets of disposable masks are available in every store and can be opened and worn whilst shopping with us, before paying for these at the tills.

"Keeping our customers and colleagues safe has been our priority throughout lockdown and this remains unchanged as social distancing measures are gradually eased.

"As parts of the UK refine their safety measures and new changes are implemented, we continue to support these across our stores in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland."


Aldi's website states: "In accordance with the recent government announcements, from the 10th July in Scotland and the 24th July in England, it will be mandatory for all customers (with certain exceptions) shopping in our stores to wear a face covering for the duration of their visit. We thank you for your cooperation."


Tesco say shoppers need to wear a face covering in-store, but staff won't be policing the rules.

Further details on Tesco's website states: "Where necessary, we’ll limit the flow of people coming into our stores to make sure they don’t get too busy.

"Hand sanitisers are being placed around our stores for customers and colleagues to use, as well as extra cleaning products to wipe down your trolley or basket.

"Please try to shop on your own to help reduce the number of people in-store at any one time. We understand that this is not always possible, so if you need to bring children with you or shop with a carer, you are welcome to do so."


In a statement on their website Sainsbury's said: "Please follow official guidelines for your local area and wear a face covering when shopping in our stores in England and Scotland. 

"We have limited the number of people in our stores and at our ATMs at any one time. We have also put queuing systems in place outside stores and ask you to queue at a safe distance of two metres apart.  

"Please try to keep a safe distance from other customers and from our colleagues when you are doing your shop. We have placed clear markings on shop floors to help you know what a safe distance is. 

"We are asking everyone to only send one adult per household to our shops. This helps us keep people a safe distance apart and also helps to reduce queues to get into stores.

"Our store teams will be asking groups with more than one adult to choose one adult to shop and will ask other adults to wait. Children are welcome if they are not able to stay at home."

However, Sainsbury's have said they won't be challenging those who don't wear a mask.

In a tweet, the company said: "We won’t be challenging customers without a mask when they enter or when they are in store since they may have a reason not to wear a mask."


Morrisons are encouraging shoppers to wear face masks in their stores. For those who forget to bring one and wear it, staff will handing out free ones to customers.

While signage will be displayed across the store, staff won't be policing the rule.


A statement on Iceland's website states: "Face coverings are now mandatory for all customers in retail stores in Scotland and in England, with the exception of those exempted from wearing them in accordance with the latest Government advice, such as people with relevant health conditions and children under the age of 11."

Regarding face mask rules, the supermarket chain added that staff won't be challenging shoppers who don't wear them.

"No, we're not asking our colleagues to police the system in our stores.

"We recognise that not all exemptions from the guidance are 'visible', therefore we trust our customers to adhere to the rules around mandatory face coverings and shop with us in a safe and responsible way.

"Our colleagues continue to show incredible dedication to keeping the nation fed and ensuring the safety of each other and our customers."