Bloke ‘booted from Argos for not wearing a mask’ even though he doesn’t have to

A fuming customer claims he will take Argos to court after he was kicked out a store for not showing a certificate allowing him to shop mask-less.

Yannis Athanasiadis, from Chillwell, Nottingham, is legally exempt from having to sport a face covering because he has anxiety issues.

But several members of staff still reportedly removed him from a high street branch as he did his Christmas shopping on December 9.

The 41-year-old said he was asked to show proof he didn’t have to wear a mask – and then booted out of the store amid threats that staff were going to phone cops.

He told Nottingham Live : “It was as if I was doing something wrong – something criminal.

"I didn't do anything wrong. They were trying to intimidate me.

"My anxiety was so bad because of this that I was almost on the verge of calling an ambulance – it was really uncomfortable for me.

"It made me look like I was causing trouble and that I was in the wrong which wasn't the case. A confrontation like that is extremely difficult for someone who has anxiety to go through. It's really distressing."

The government's coronavirus face mask rules state anyone who is medically exempt may show an exemption certificate if they wish, but they are not required to do so.

  • Full list of reasons you can be fined during England's national lockdown

The guidance says: “Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law."

Mr Athanasiadis said he has returned to the store to serve a letter of claims to Argos, a document stating legal action is set to commence.

He says he was also asked to leave on that occasion after again being told he requires a card or certificate confirming his exemption.

He intends to take the matter to civil court.

Mr Athanasiadis continued: "I am determined to take this as far as it needs to go. I intend to take them to court."

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's, which operates Argos stores, said: "Safety is our highest priority and we have a range of measures in place to keep customers and colleagues safe, including asking customers to wear face coverings if they are able to.

"We’re in touch with Mr Athanasiadis to apologise for his experience and reassure him that colleagues have been reminded of our policy to prevent this from happening again.

"We have also offered a gesture of goodwill and we hope that we can welcome him back into store soon."

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