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Government confusion on face coverings is not helpful for shop workers - Usdaw calls for clarity

Date: 13 July 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw has urged the Government to clarify their policy on face coverings in shops. The union recognises that face coverings can help limit the spread of the virus, but reiterates the need to follow established social distancing measures. Usdaw is calling for clarity and detailed guidance to end confusion and help protect retail staff from abuse.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “Mandatory face coverings have  been introduced in Scotland and the early signs are that this has been working well, but we will continue to monitor this. We welcome anything that helps to keep customers and shop workers safe, but the most important measures to help stop the spread of Covid-19 are to maintain proper social distancing and hygiene.

“We need clarity from the Government, the mixed messaging and indecision is not helpful for shop workers. There 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 retail with the BRC.

“Even if face coverings become mandatory, 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. We are clear that it should never fall on shopworkers to enforce the wearing of face coverings, they are already dealing with more abuse than normal and this could be another flashpoint. Our members also need clarity on age identification procedures, under the ‘Think-25’ policy, when a customer is wearing a face covering.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is still very much with us and Usdaw urges the Government to proceed with caution. The releasing of lockdown must not lead to a second spike in infections.”

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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