Retail staff must wear face coverings from today, following Tuesday’s government announcements on further covid-19 safety measures.
The guidance now published on GOV.UK says: “It will be compulsory for retail, leisure and hospitality staff to wear a face covering in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public.
“This includes shops, supermarkets, bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes, banks, estate agents, post offices and the public areas of hotels and hostels.
The guidance also says that premises, including shops, where face coverings are required should: “take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law.”
It is not explicit about whether face shields count as ‘coverings’. However, the description of a ‘covering’ is that it should cover the nose and mouth and fit securely round the sides of the face – so it is thought not.
Businesses will also face stricter rules around making premises covid-19 secure from Monday, September 28. These include that employers should not knowingly require or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to work.
They must also remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.
Businesses that don’t comply with covid-19 safety measures could risk closure or penalties of up to £10,000.
Pet retailers have hit out over lack of clarity in the latest announcements, with confusion over both the date they were to start and the definition of a face covering.
Piers Smart of Scampers said: “All any of us are looking for is clarity from our government…clear instructions that we can work with.”
While Kathryn Martin said that in Scotland she had been told the shields definitely didn’t count without masks beneath them.
And Pearl Hamilton of Pearl’s Pet Care said it seemed to be different in different parts of the UK…which was confusing to all concerned.