Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Co-op CEO Steve Murrells orders stores to stop paying Lottery and Scratchcard winnings amid #COVID19 fears
Effective today, Co-Op convenience stores will no longer pay winnings to ticket or scratchcard holders, citing fears over handling cash, as a response to the #COVID19 pandemic.
Employees have explained that the company's justification for this decision is to limit contact with consumers.
According to Hannah, a member of the National Lottery Customer Care Team:
It is at the discretion of individual retail partners as to what services they currently offer to shoppers.
One Co-Op employee, who spoke to WireNews on the condition of anonymity, said:
We will still be handing back change to customers paying in cash, so this policy seems ridicuous on its face.
And a number of customers apply their winnings to their purchase so why we cannot do that is anyone's guess.
It's just a knee-jerk reaction and virtue signalling from the company to make fearful employees think we're doing something.
This employee wasn't wearing protective gloves as he served customers so the fear could not be too pressing. When asked about the lack of gloves, he said:
The company hasn't given us any.
They say there is a shortage of gloves and that they need to go to the #NHS first.
WireNews reached out to Steve Murrells by Twitter but he didn't reply.
More likely the company is responding to the reality that most customers are paying by card and that this has reduced the amount of cash in each store.
Editor's Note: While the Co-Op's CEO didn't reply to my request for information, WireNews received this screenshot that explains that the company is asking its store clerks to decide whether you need to purchase a lottery ticket. The company has decided that it will not pay out any prizes. I personally visited a Co-Op store near my home and bought a lottery ticket after I received this notice. So, Co-Op will still accept your money, they just won't pay any out for lottery winners.
Just why the company's management believes that paying out lottery prices treads on the '2-metre rule' but handing cash back to cash-paying customers does not is another example of the scaremongering that the media is creating.