Dear shop owner,

Many of our shops have successfully reopened and everyone has worked really hard to do this safely and help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

I just wanted to make sure you are aware that it is mandatory for customers to wear face coverings, in shops and supermarkets, from Friday 24 July 2020.

Face coverings can include single use facemasks, scarves, bandanas, and hand-made cloth coverings.  It is important that the face covering covers the nose and mouth.

Face coverings are thought to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of coronavirus because they cover the nose and mouth and prevent the dispersal of droplets from sneezing and coughing.

The use of face coverings alone will not prevent the spread of coronavirus; therefore, it is important to ensure that other controls continue to be in place such as:

  1. Good hand hygiene – washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  2. Social distancing – where possible maintain 2m social distancing
  3. Good respiratory hygiene – ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’

In settings where face coverings are mandated (shops, supermarkets and on public transport), there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby people are not expected to wear face coverings. These include:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to eat or drink, but only if needed
  • to take medication

Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings.

It is the responsibility of the customer to wear a face covering and staff can refuse entry to someone who does not have a valid reason for not wearing a face covering (as outlined above).

Staff in shops are permitted to ask a customer to remove their face coverings for the purpose of age identification and also when speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

It is not compulsory for shop or supermarket staff to wear face coverings, although employers should consider recommending this where appropriate, especially where screens or visors are not in use.

I would like to thank you for your continued efforts in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the business support helpline on 0191 516 6699 or email business@northtyneside.gov.uk

Kind Regards

John Sparkes

Head of Regeneration & Economic Development

North Tyneside Council

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