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January 27, 2022

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Retail workers

Customers urged to respect shopworkers by continuing to wear a face covering in store

Retail trade union Usdaw has urged customers to continue observe COVID-safe measures, despite the Government ending the mandatory wearing of a face covering in shops in England.

corona face maskEarlier this month, Boris Johnson announced that Plan B COVID-19 restrictions would come to an end on Thursday 27 January, meaning that the wearing of face masks will no longer be mandatory anywhere. Shortly after the announcement, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that people will still be required to wear face coverings when travelling on London’s public transport.

Face coverings continue to be mandatory when shopping in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Usdaw has welcomed early indications that retailers are keeping important safety measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. The union is calling for the whole retail industry to follow these leads, to avoid customer confusion, and for the shopping public to abide by the rules and respect shopworkers.

Earlier this week, retailers Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and Waitrose said that they will continue to ask customers in England to wear masks in their shops after Plan B rules have ended. Rail operators have also said passengers would be expected to wear masks.

Since then, Tesco has become the latest retailer to encourage shoppers and staff to keep wearing masks, while Asda has said that, while masks were no longer mandatory, “we are asking customers to still consider wearing one in crowded spaces”.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: “It is deeply disappointing that the Government has ploughed on with ending mandatory face coverings in shops, despite the concerns of shopworkers. So, we welcome early indications from some in the retail industry, that they will keep COVID-safe measure in stores, and we hope all retailers will continue to put staff and customer safety first.

“The Government could have eased existing restrictions while maintaining safety measures in businesses that have been open throughout the pandemic, like supermarkets. Face coverings, hand hygiene and social distancing had pretty much become the norm in retail, but constantly changing the rules is unhelpful.

“We continue to ask employers to think about their duty of care to staff and promote existing safety measures to the shopping public. We also ask customers to show their support and respect for shopworkers by continuing to wear face coverings, observe hand hygiene and maintain social distancing.”

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