Businesses reminded to protect staff and customers as face coverings are introduced

Published: Friday, 24th July 2020

Businesses are being reminded they have a duty to protect staff and customers when face coverings become mandatory in shops, supermarkets and takeaway outlets from today (Friday 24 July 2020).

In a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Government guidelines have been updated so face coverings will be compulsory in shops and public transport, punishable by a £100 fine.

Businesses can refuse entry to those who fail to comply and who do not demonstrate a valid reason for exemption.

Dr Justin Varney, Birmingham City Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“A face covering does not primarily protect the person wearing it from contracting Covid-19; what it does do it prevent them spreading it, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. This is why it’s still so important for people to keep their distance from others when outside their own home, refrain from touching their face and wash their hands regularly.

“By making face coverings compulsory in indoor spaces where we are mixing with strangers will help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading and businesses can play their part to protect staff and shoppers by refusing entry to customers who do not comply. It’s important that we all work together to help keep Birmingham safe and create a safe environment for everyone.”

Businesses are being advised to display guidance on face coverings prior to customers entering the building and refuse entry to those who do not follow the guidelines.

In addition, if an employee shows symptoms, businesses should send them home immediately for at least seven days and encourage them to get a test by ringing 119 or by booking a test through the NHS website. The company risk assessment should then be followed, and consideration should be given as to whether any other staff have been in close proximity with the affected individual and should also be sent home to isolate.

It is important businesses reach out for help early as it often means the intervention is more limited, businesses can keep working, and the virus is contained.

If an employee is confirmed with Covid-19, then businesses should contact Public Health England by ringing 0344 225 3560 and pressing 0 then option 2, as soon as possible.

Guidance on how to wear a face covering can be found on the Government website.

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