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Shop staff not wearing face coverings `is entirely…

Shop staff should be wearing face coverings in the same way that customers are required to, according to the British Medical Association which has criticised the “confusing” Government policy.

Friday marked the first day that people in England have been legally obliged to wear a face covering in shops, shopping centres, banks, takeaway outlets, post offices, sandwich shops and supermarkets.

While staff do not currently have to follow the rules, the BMA says they should also apply to workers to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, unless there are additional mitigations such as the use of barriers or screens.

The BMA said the current situation is “entirely illogical” and said employers should protect their staff and customers by requiring both to wear face coverings in the absence of a Government mandate.

The union believes that face coverings should be worn in all settings where physical distancing between people from different “bubbles” is not possible and no other mitigating measures are put in place.

The BMA is also concerned that some staff are wearing visors instead of masks, which are likely to offer much less protection against transmission from the wearer to others, and should only be worn in addition to face coverings for the purpose of protecting the wearer’s eyes.

Dr Peter English, BMA public health medicine committee chairman, said: “The virus does not discriminate between customers and staff, so to have one rule for one group, and a different for another, is entirely illogical.

“Shop staff, for example, are likely to encounter many different people during their shift, and without other mitigating measures – for example cashiers sitting behind individual plastic screens – they too should be wearing effective face coverings.

“Customers being asked to wear face coverings will rightly question why staff are not required to do the same, and so businesses should lead by example, and honour their duty of care to both their employees and the public.

“The BMA has consistently raised the problem of mixed messages around face coverings and this is just another example of confusing Government policy.

“These rules should clearly be extended to apply to staff, and in the meantime, employers should do the decent thing and ensure those employees who are unable to keep two metres from one another or customers are wearing face coverings.”

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