A TESCO store was almost empty today following yesterday’s announcement that the chain would ban shoppers who refuse to wear a mask.

A handful of masked shoppers could be seen entering the superstore in Church Road Hove at around 3pm this afternoon.

There was no queue to enter the store and the majority of customers were wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

A security guard was stationed at the main entrance to enforce rules and manage the number of customers entering the store.

During the first lockdown in March last year there were reports of “massive queues” outside the store, however there was no repeat of these scenes today.

The wet and windy weather may have played a part in this.

Waitrose, Asda, Morrison's and Sainsbury's have also pledged to step-up their restrictions on face-coverings.

In a statement, a spokesman for Tesco said: "We won't let anyone in to our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with government guidance.

"We are asking our customers to shop alone, unless they're a carer or with children."

“There are only a few cases where people can be exempt from wearing face masks in settings such as supermarkets, including children under the age of 11, people who physically cannot put a mask on or wear one, and people for whom putting on, wearing or taking off a mask would cause "severe distress".

This comes after the government's vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi raised concerns of people not sticking to the coronavirus rules in supermarkets.

Those exempt from wearing face coverings will not be expected to wear a mask - though Sainsbury's has said it will be challenging any shoppers not wearing a face covering.

Sainsbury's also said it would use security guards to challenge those shopping in groups.