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ACS welcomes clarification on face coverings for staff from today

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed additional details confirmed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) today on the new requirements for colleagues to wear a face covering.

From today (24 September), face coverings must be worn by colleagues as well as customers in shops. A key exemption for colleagues however is detailed in the below guidance:

Face coverings must be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in indoor areas which are open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public, for example shops, supermarkets and restaurants. If these businesses have taken steps in line with HSE guidance for Covid-19 Secure workplaces to create a physical barrier between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier will not be required to wear a face covering.

Other exemptions include where colleagues are not in a customer facing environment (e.g. stock room), if they have a hidden disability or another health condition, or if they are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate with them.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said, “We welcome the additional clarification from Government on the wearing of face coverings by colleagues in stores. Thousands of retailers have already invested in their stores through the installation of Perspex screens and other PPE for colleagues, so it’s welcome that these mitigating measures are being recognised by the Government. We will continue to work with retailers to ensure that they can comply with the detail of the new regulations.”

The legislation being introduced today is part of a series of measures announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week, including making Covid-secure guidelines for workplaces a legal requirement and subject to fines of up to £10k.