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To wear a face covering or not wear a face covering? It’s still an option, or is it?

BY Matthew Ramsey
Health & Safety

After a weekend visit to a large supermarket in Scotland I came away with the distinct impression that the wearing of a face covering was optional as a number of people were still shopping without.  As of last Friday it became mandatory, it became the Law in Scotland.  This was already the case for Public transport in the UK, but Scotland had now encompassed retail.  As  it is now law, who should be responsible for ensuring this happens, the shopper, the retail premises or the enforcement authority, be it the Police or Environmental Health? 

If the shopper will not take responsibility for their actions I would suggest that the retailer now has a duty to ensure that the law is complied with in order to protect their staff and other shoppers.  Again, if this does not happen, the retail business is at real risk of enforcement action, especially as we have seen a huge increase in public complaints to enforcing authorities from members of the public. Whilst shoppers may be reticent to address this face to face with their fellow shoppers, they may well complain once back home.     


Retailers, in our opinion need to take steps to manage the situation by use of clear signage outlining the requirements needed to enter their premises and possibly the offer of a free mask to those that are without. Staff safety is of course paramount and any actions should be in line with their existing violence & aggression procedures, but a degree of challenge maybe be required.  The reliance on calling in the Police to enforce is short term at best and subject to delay.  Which, does place the retailer back centre stage.

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