John Lewis has scrapped its click and collect service in a bid to reduce the number of people leaving home unnecessarily.

The retailer said that it would be closing the service to new orders at the end of the day on Tuesday as it is “conscious of the increased need to remove reasons for non essential travel during the current lockdown”.

Waitrose, which is partnered with John Lewis, also said it will insist on customers wearing face coverings while shopping, unless they are medically exempt. 

The supermarket joined Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Aldi in banning those who refuse to wear a face covering against Government guidance.

The changes come amid concerns from ministers that rules on social distancing rules and masks are not being adhered to.

There have been reports that click and collect services could be banned except for in supermarkets and essential retailers as part of tougher lockdown rules.

Andrew Murphy, an executive director at the John Lewis Partnership, said the company is “acutely aware that the country is at a critical point in the pandemic”.

He added: “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. 

“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.” 

People who have an existing click and collect order with John Lewis will be able to collect it as normal.

Face covering rules in England

Announcing its new policy on face coverings, a Tesco spokesman said: “To protect our customers and colleagues, we won’t let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with Government guidance. 

“We are also asking our customers to shop alone, unless they’re a carer or with children. To support our colleagues, we will have additional security in stores to help manage this.”

Asda said it has “strongly encouraged” customers to wear face masks since the legislation was introduced in July.

A spokesman said: “If a customer has forgotten their face covering, we will continue to offer them  one free of charge – but should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so – our security colleagues will refuse their entry.’’

There have been concerns about rising abuse towards shop staff over the coronavirus rules, with one retailer describing face masks as a “flashpoint” for aggressive behaviour. Retailers have previously said that enforcing the rules should be a matter for the police.