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Government weakening of Covid safety measures in shops risks abuse of shopworkers says Usdaw, customers urged to follow guidance

Date: 12 July 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw is deeply disappointed by the Government scrapping important Covid safety legislation for retail in England from 19 July. The union says that guidance is not enough, while urging retailers to promote face coverings, hand hygiene and social distancing in their stores and calling on shoppers to adhere to the Government’s guidance.
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 and it should be backed up by the law.

“We are asking retailers to promote face coverings, hand hygiene and social distancing in stores. However, shopworkers already face violence and abuse when enforcing these measures and we are concerned that, when restrictions no longer have the force of the law behind them, this this could result in further abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers, as has already been highlighted by the British Retail Consortium.

“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 are asking the public to show their support for shopworkers by continuing to wear face coverings when they shop.

“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