This page was updated on the 19 July 2021
The Government has decided to move to step 4 of the roadmap. The pandemic is not over. Cases are increasing rapidly and a third wave is underway. Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint. It is important to remember the pandemic is not over. Cases are currently rising, as are hospitalisations. Cases, hospitalisations and, sadly, deaths, will rise further as society and the economy reopen. Lifting Coronavirus restrictions does not mean that the risks from COVID-19 have disappeared. Vigilance must be maintained and people will be asked to make informed decisions and act carefully and proportionately, to manage the risks to themselves and others.
A face covering is something which safely covers your mouth and nose.
Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, the government expects and recommends that people continue to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. Where worn correctly, this may reduce the risk of transmission to themselves and others. Be aware that workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.
Consider encouraging, for example through signage, the use of face coverings by workers, particularly in indoor areas where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This is especially important in enclosed and crowded spaces.
In close contact services, having considered the risk of COVID-19, you may decide that in your premises you're going to ask clients or staff to wear a face covering, especially where practitioners are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person's face, mouth and nose.
When deciding whether you will ask workers or customers to wear a face covering, you would need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and clients with disabilities. You would also need to consider carefully how this fits with other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.
Some people are not able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.
Advising your workers
If your workers choose to wear a face covering, you should support them in using face coverings safely. This means telling them:
- wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it
- when wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering (you could contaminate them with germs from your hands)
- change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you've touched it
- continue to wash your hands regularly
- change or wash your face covering daily
- if the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer's instructions (if it's not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste)
Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.
Should my employees approach persons not wearing a face covering?
Employees should already be trained in approaching customers who are breaking rules and forming a judgement on whether they can approach that person or if they may need further assistance. Employers should review their workplace violence risk assessment.
The Police should be called on 999 if;
- a serious offence is in progress or has just been committed
- someone is in immediate danger or harm
- property is in danger of being damaged
- a serious disruption to the public is likely
or on 101 in non-emergency situations.
Example face covering posters for businesses
Please be aware that Face Coverings are not Personal Protective Equipment.