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The Government was wrong to water down safety in stores says Usdaw, face coverings should have remained mandatory

Date: 27 November 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw wants the Government to be absolutely clear that it is a legal requirement in England for shoppers to wear face coverings again, after the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is detected in the UK. The union asserts that the Government was wrong to lift safety measures in stores on 19 July.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “There is no reason why, when lifting other covid restrictions in England, the Government could not have kept the requirement to wear a face covering in busy public places, like shops and public transport. This flip-flopping on basic and sensible covid measures and the different rules across the UK create confusion, reduce compliance and can lead to conflict.
 
“Retail staff working with the public every day are deeply worried about catching Covid-19 and the arrival of the Omicron variant is a further concern. Wearing a face covering protects others, it should not be a personal preference, but a personal responsibilty. The Government must be clear and consistent on it being mandatory and that shopworkers are not expected to enforce the law on face coverings.
 
“Usdaw is urging the shopping public to wear face coverings, along with necessary hand sanitisation and maintaining social distancing to help make shops safer and limit the spread of Covid-19. We ask the public to follow the rules and respect shopworkers, abuse is not a part of their job. We continue to call on retail employers to maintain appropriate safety measures, ensuring they are followed consistently in every store.
 
“Many shopworkers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and taking it home to their families. Yet they have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials. These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 370,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers