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Government must engage with Usdaw and retailers to agree detailed face coverings advice

Date: 14 July 2020 Retail trade union Usdaw is concerned that the Secretary of State for Health did not indicate, in his statement to the House of Commons, that the Government will engage with the union and retailers on detailed guidance for the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is right to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory in shops, but there must now be clear and detailed guidance from the Government. We urge them to develop and agree that with Usdaw and retail employers, as we successfully did on joint safety guidance for the reopening of high street shops with the British Retail Consortium. We had hoped to have heard that in today’s Commons statement, but the commitment wasn’t forthcoming.
“It is still not clear who will enforce the wearing of face coverings, with Matt Hancock today saying that shops would be expected to turn customers away. Usdaw expects the guidance to make it clear that shop workers will not be enforcing the wearing of face coverings. They are already dealing with more abuse than normal and this could be another flashpoint.
“We also need assurances that guidance will confirm that the established two-metre social distancing will remain, along with screens at tills, existing hygiene facilities  and limiting the number of shoppers in store at any one time.
“The guidance should reflect that any staff wearing a face covering will need regular breaks and have the opportunity to replace it. Those working on tills who are behind screens should not be required to wear a face covering. There must also be clarity on age identification procedures, under the ‘Think-25’ policy, when a customer is wearing a face covering.
“Today’s statement leaves many questions unanswered. We also need a public information campaign to explain the correct use of face coverings, who is exempt and the importance of maintaining existing social distancing and hygiene measures.”
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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