Usdaw has “slammed” the government’s announcement that it plans to lift safety measures in stores once the final Covid restrictions are lifted on 19 July.
In a speech made yesterday (5 July), the Prime Minister confirmed that face coverings would no longer be mandatory in shops from that date, whilst social distancing measures would also be lifted.
The retail trade union argued that the lifting of restrictions in shops is “too much too soon”, however, and is now calling on the public to continue wearing face coverings, using hand sanitisers and maintaining social distancing when in stores.
Usdaw argued that these measures should be maintained as an effort to protect shopworkers, many of whom are “at greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families”.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw’s general secretary said: “The Government should not be weakening safety measures in shops at the same time as opening up other venues. There is no reason why requirements to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in busy public areas like shops cannot continue.
“Wearing a face covering in crowded public areas like shops is not merely a personal choice, it is an important measure to help protect workers who have no option but to interact with large numbers of people as a part of their job. The main purpose of face coverings is to protect others and the Government must send out a clear message on this.”
He added: “Usdaw is urging the shopping public to continue to wear face coverings, along with necessary hand sanitisation and maintaining social distancing to help make shops safer and limit the spread of Covid-19. We also continue to call on employers to maintain appropriate safety measures and ensure that they are being followed consistently, in every store.
“Many retail workers are at a greater risk of catching the virus and bringing it home to their families. Supermarket workers and delivery drivers have worked throughout the pandemic to keep the country supplied with essentials. These key workers must be valued, respected and protected.”