Usdaw welcomes compulsory wearing of face coverings in shops and calls for detailed advice to be agreed

Usdaw has welcomed the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops, but warns that it can only be effective alongside existing social distancing and hygiene procedures.

The union has called on the government to publish detailed guidance and safety procedures that are agreed with the union and retail employers.

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said:“It is right to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory in shops, but we must recognise that expert advice says it is an additional protection on top of existing safety measures. There now must be clear and detailed guidance from the government and we urge them to work with Usdaw and retail employers to draw that up, as we successfully did on joint safety guidance for the reopening of high street retail with the British Retail Consortium.

“Usdaw is urging employers to stay with the established two-metre social distancing, using screens at tills and limiting the number of shoppers in store at any one time. Employers must also be aware that staff will need regular breaks when they can take their face covering off and have the opportunity to replace it. Staff on tills who are behind screens should not be required to wear a face covering.

“We welcome the indication that shop workers will not be expected to enforce the wearing of face coverings. They are already dealing with more abuse than normal and this could be another flashpoint. There must also be clarity on age identification procedures, under the ‘Think-25’ policy, when a customer is wearing a face covering.

“We now need a public information campaign to explain the correct use of face coverings, that some people are exempt from wearing face coverings and the importance of maintaining existing social distancing and hygiene measures.”

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