Employees face exhaustion, stress and abuse by members of the public in second coronavirus lockdown

When the UK first went into lockdown last March, many supermarket workers said they had never felt so appreciated. Customers would thank them for their service, leave chocolates for the staff room and applaud delivery vans as if they were carrying royalty rather than groceries.

Not any more, according to numerous store employees who contacted the Guardian to express their fears and frustrations about working through the second wave. From debit card refuseniks pulling down their masks to lick their fingers and separate their twenties, to families treating a trip to the supermarket as a social outing, many felt they were now the “forgotten key workers”. Others feel taken for granted, suffering anxiety and panic attacks as a result of their work environment.

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