Usdaw has urged the government to keep face-covering rules in place to protect shopworkers and customers claiming “it should not be a personal preference, but a personal responsibility.”
The retail trade union stated the persistent “flip-flopping” of the in-store rules has impacted compliance and can lead to conflict.
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said many shopworkers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and taking it home to their families. They have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials. These key workers must be “valued, respected and protected”.
“There is no reason why, when lifting other Covid restrictions in England, the government could not keep the requirement to wear a face-covering in busy public places like shops,” Paddy Lillis added.
“Usdaw is urging the shopping public to wear face coverings, along with necessary hand sanitisation and maintaining social distance to help make shops safer.
“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.”
The news comes after supermarkets reintroduced facemasks on 30 November. However, Iceland announced that its staff would not force customers to wear face-coverings.
Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker said the supermarket would focus on the “long-term recovery of the high street”, suggesting the new rules could “discourage” shopping.