TESCO has performed a lockdown U-turn and reopened the mezzanine floors at its stores in York - and council bosses have now given such actions the green light.

The supermarket giant closed the mezzanine levels and blocked the escalators at its stores at Clifton Moor and Askham Bar last week.

It said then that it had closed the clothing and general merchandise departments in its stores that sold these products from a separate mezzanine level 'in line with new Government guidance in England which requires the closure of separate floors selling non-food items.'

The decision appeared to be in line with Cabinet Office guidance which stated: "Where a business has sufficiently distinct parts, and one section provides essential retail and one section provides non-essential retail, the non-essential sections should close to limit interactions between customers and the opportunity for the disease to spread.”

But the escalator was working again today and the company's own F & F clothing area on the left hand side of the mezzanine floor was open for business, with many shoppers browsing amongst the aisles. However, the Arcadia outlets on the right hand side, such as Dorothy Perkins, remained fenced off.

A spokeswoman confirmed today that Tesco's mezzanine levels were now open again for customers in all its stores.

She said the implementation of mezzanine closures by other retailers had varied considerably and 'caused real confusion for customers.'

She said Tesco had therefore taken the decision to re-open its mezzanine levels, and general merchandise and clothing departments would be open in all its stores.

Tesco's original decision had put it at odds with its competitor Asda, which kept the mezzanine level open at its store at Monks Cross, and the floor remained open yesterday.

City of York Council, which is responsible for ensuring Government guidance is enforced in retail outlets, said last week it was 'addressing the matter' of the mezzanines.

Matt Boxall, head of public protection, repeated today that the authority was 'addressing this matter according to the regulations' and went on to say:“Where a business, such as a supermarket, is able to open legally, there is no requirement for that business to close its different departments, unless they are run by different businesses or concessions."

He said any premises in York open in contravention of coronavirus regulations should be reported to public.protection@york.gov.uk, adding: "Thank you to residents for their continued vigilance to help uphold regulations and slow the virus’ spread.”