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24 Sep 2020

If you have a screen between you and a customer, do you need to wear a mask?

The Government made it compulsory for retail staff to wear a face covering from today (Thursday, September 24).

However, if you have already installed physical screens at points of sale, is it still necessary to wear a face mask? A number of members contacted our team to ask for guidance on this matter, so Bira called the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for clarification and the short answer is 'no'.

The statement confirmed this: "Face coverings must be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in indoor areas which are open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public, for example shops, supermarkets and restaurants.

"If these businesses have taken steps in line with HSE guidance for Covid-19-Secure workplaces to create a physical barrier between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier will not be required to wear a face covering."

The BEIS has provided the following definitions of terms:

Visors - The BEIS has confirmed that visors are NOT regarded as face coverings for staff (or customers by extension)

Perspex shields - the guidance confirms these are an acceptable alternative to staff wearing face masks - provided they meet the requirements for a Covid-secure workplace

Other exemptions to the rule is if retail staff are not in a customer-facing environment (such as a stock room); if they have a hidden disability or another health condition; or if they are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate with them.

The BEIS has added to its guidance (05.10.2020) by saying that that the exemptions for customers wearing face coverings also apply to shop staff BUT if the retailers' risk assessment was that in general staff would wear coverings then it is for the business to determine whether the risk assessment stands and if so to consider providing an alternative non-customer facing role for such a staff member. More details to be released when available.

Read the Government's full guidance here

 

 


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