Shopworkers union makes 'keep masks' plea
By Punchline reporter | 12th July 2021
Shopworkers union Usdaw has urged the Government to keep the wearing of face masks in shops even when restrictions lift.
Usdaw has written to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng saying there's no reason why requirements to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in public areas like shops cannot continue.
Restrictions on face coverings and social distancing are due to end with the easing of Covid restrictions on 19th July.
Usdaw is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Most work in the retail sector.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, said: "The Government should not be weakening safety measures in shops at the same time as opening up other venues. There is no reason why requirements to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in busy public areas like shops cannot continue.
"Retailers may be able to attempt to enforce their own face covering policies, but in the absence of a legal requirement, as has already been highlighted by the British Retail Consortium, this is likely to result in further significant increases in abuse, threats and violence towards retail workers."
He said that wearing a face covering in crowded public areas like shops was not merely a personal choice but an important measure to help protect workers who have to interact with large numbers of people as a part of their job.
He added: "We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government and employers, as we did during the first lockdown, to develop comprehensive guidance for retail.
"Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. Supermarket workers and delivery drivers have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials. These key workers must be valued, respected and protected."
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