Shopper with anxiety threatens to sue Argos after staff threw him out of store for not wearing face mask

A SHOPPER says he will sue Argos after staff booted him out of a store for not wearing a face mask and treating him like a "criminal".

Yannis Athanasiadis, 41, suffers from anxiety and is medically exempt from wearing a protective face covering during the coronavirus pandemic.

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He says staff at the store in Long Eaton, Derbyshire tried to "intimidate" him when they demanded to see an exemption certificate and threatened to call the police.

Yannis had left his medical certificate at home and government guidelines state he is not required to carry one.

Argos has since apologised for the incident which happened last month.

Yannis, from Chilwell, Nottingham, told NottinghamshireLive: "It was as if I was doing something wrong – something criminal.

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

The 41-year-old said he returned to the shop a second time to serve them with a legal letter insisting he intends to sue the company in civil court.

However, he says that he was once again asked to leave for not wearing a mask and was told he had to show a medical exemption document.

Yannis said: "I am determined to take this as far as it needs to go. I intend to take them to court."

Government guidelines state: "Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and is not required by law."

Speaking about how the first incident affected him, Yannis said: "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."

He added: "It's really distressing."

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's, Argos' parent firm, 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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