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

Date: 13 July 2020 Retail trade union 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. Usdaw calls on the Government to publish detailed guidance and safety procedures that are agreed with the union and retail employers.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “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.”
 
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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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers