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Face Coverings

It became mandatory to wear facemasks in a variety of settings – including shops, supermarkets and public transport – across the UK in the summer of 2020. Now, as we navigate the path out of the steps of lockdown, with restrictions easing in a phased approach, it’s still mandatory to wear face coverings in indoor settings, regardless of which country you live or work in within the UK.

Face coverings are a legal requirement in indoor settings and are likely to be for some time to come.

Face Coverings at Work

There are many debates as to whether it is against your human rights to enforce this and that it is dangerous to wear masks due to gases going back into your body – so I can only advise you what the Health Organisation and Government advise. Also there are many pieces of information from the people in the UK that say they have had the 2 vaccines and should be exempt now. So this is a tricky subject with many people having different valid views.

The Fines

There are fines for not wearing a face covering In England the police have enforcement powers, including issuing fines of £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days) for the first offence. In Scotland police have enforcement powers including issuing penalty notices of £60 (halving to £30 if paid within 28 days) if members of the public do not comply with this law. In Wales, the police and local authorities can issue a fixed penalty for breaches of these requirements. A first offence fine is £60. In Northern Ireland you must have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering, or you can be fined.

Shop employees can request that you leave if you’re not wearing a face covering.

Business owners should be encouraging clients and customers to comply by installing signage at entrances and also, where appropriate, encouraging their staff to wear face coverings themselves.

Please remember the saying Hands – Face – Space

It is important to stress that face coverings do not replace social or physical distancing requirements. They must be worn correctly (over the mouth and nose) and be put on and taken off and disposed of carefully (or washed if a reusable type). Remember to remind people that they must wash their hands thoroughly before and after putting them on or taking them off. You should ensure that you brief your employees thoroughly on these requirements. There are many posters that you can download and put in toilet facilities to remind staff.

I am still visiting premises and they have lovely fluffy hand towels to dry your hands on!! NO this is not good. There must be disposable hand towels to use.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) also confirm that masks/face coverings are not classed at Personal Protective equipment (PPE). If your staff work with dusts and chemicals etc they will still need a risk assessment carrying out along with the use of face fit testing and FFP2/3 masks.

I would suggest booking in an audit and this is where I can visit your work areas and produce a report to highlight any areas of concern. We can then work through this report together and document what is important to you and your business and get you compliant so you will have no staff issues and fines. Email me joanne@chestnutassociates.co.uk to get this booked in.