Calls for mandatory masking return as Covid numbers rise

Trade union Usdaw has called for a return to mandatory masking across the UK as Covid-19 cases rise.  

The move comes as the trade union reports that rates of social distancing, masking and hand sanitising are currently on the decline, placing staff health and safety at risk.  

The decision to wear face coverings and keep social distancing has been a “personal choice” for customers since “Freedom Day” on July 19 2021.  

However, Covid-19 cases are rapidly increasing with 49,139 new infections recorded on October 20, the eighth consecutive day that over 40,000 people have tested positive. 

READ MORE: Sunak urged to cut business rates by 41 trade unions

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that cases could hit as high as 100,000 per day, however he added that the government will not be initiating another lockdown to stem the tide of infections.  

The group has requested protection for retail workers to be enforced by law again and is asking that customers “show their support and respect for shopworkers” by wearing a mask in stores.  

“Protection for retail workers through customers following Covid safety rules should be backed up by law and not left to individual choice if we are going to avoid further lockdown measures,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said. 

“Wearing a face covering is an important measure to help protect workers who have no options but to interact with the public. 

“Retail workers … have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country fed and deserve to be valued, respected and protected.” 

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