The Government recently announced that face masks will be mandatory in England within shops as well as on Public transport. Below we have listed the rules for different areas which apply to florist shops as well as the exceptions so that you can be fully informed on what is permitted and what is not.
In England, you must by law wear a face covering in Shops as of 24 July 2020
Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law (as they would do more generally) and can refuse entry. The police have the powers to enforce these measures, including issuing a fine of £100 (halving to £50 if paid within 14 days).
You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
- If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
- If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication
It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, although employers should consider recommending their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place. For example, there will be times when screens or visors are in use, or when a staff member is not in close proximity to people they do not normally meet, and so wearing a covering for staff will not be necessary.
Consider your risk assessment and the size of the space you work in to make an informed decision on safety.
From 10th July 2020 it was compulsory to wear a face mask on Public transport only and as of yet shops have not included. The Northern Ireland government websites states:
“Although face coverings may not prevent you from becoming infected with the virus, they help prevent people who don’t know they have the virus spreading it to others. By wearing a face covering you are are showing your support and consideration for others”
In Scotland currently A face covering must be worn by all people using a shop, which is any indoor establishment which offers goods or services for sale or hire, when the shop is open. This includes anywhere that offer some goods for hire, for example if a library offers DVDs or CDs for hire, This does not include hospitality premises such as cafes, coffee shops, restaurants or pubs. It also excludes money services businesses such as banks and building societies.
It is strongly recommended that staff wear face coverings even when 2m physical distancing is applied. However, there is an exemption for staff where 2 m physical distancing or Perspex screens are in place.
Some people are not required to wear a face covering.
- children under 5 years of age
- police constables or workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty
- staff such as drivers or checkout assistants who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from passengers or customers
- shop workers if they maintain a 2 metre distance from customers or members of the public
You may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:
- you have a health condition or you are disabled and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently. Individual discretion should be applied in considering the use of face coverings for other children including, for example, children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering
- you need to eat or drink
- you are taking medication
- you are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading
- a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks you to remove your face covering
The Welsh Governments says: In some circumstances where it might be difficult to stay 2m away from others, we are advising the use of three-layer, non-medical face coverings.
This is in line with the World Health organisation.
Face coverings should be made up of three layers as set out by the World Health Organisation but do not need to be medical-grade face masks.
This advice applies only to people who are not symptomatic. If you experience any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you must self-isolate for seven days and get a test, as set out in existing guidance. Unless your test shows a negative result, you must not go out during this time, even with a face covering.
Please keep your eyes on the relevant government websites for your area to see any vital updates to these rules.