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Usdaw urges the Government not to weaken safety in stores and work with the union and employers on guidance

Date: 09 July 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has written to the Business Secretary calling on the Government to reverse their plans to end compulsory face coverings and social distancing in shops on 19 July.
Usdaw letter to Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: www.usdaw.org.uk/KwartengLetter

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The Government should not be weakening safety measures in shops at the same time as opening up other venues. There is no reason why requirements to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in busy public areas like shops cannot continue.

“Retailers may be able to attempt to enforce their own face covering policies, but in the absence of a legal requirement, as has already been highlighted by the British Retail Consortium, this is likely to result in further significant increases in abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers.

“Wearing a face covering in crowded public areas like shops is not merely a personal choice, it is an important measure to help protect workers who have no option but to interact with large numbers of people as a part of their job. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government and employers, as we did during the first lockdown, to develop comprehensive guidance for retail.

“Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. Supermarket workers and delivery drivers have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials. These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”

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