Shoppers ‘expected’ to wear masks after legal requirement ends on Monday


hoppers have been told by the Government they are expected to wear masks from Monday when they will no longer be required by law in a coronavirus policy criticised as a “real mess”.

New guidance on workplace safety for when most restrictions in England end was published as regional mayors urged ministers to keep masks compulsory on public transport in England.

The document says the Government “expects and recommends” masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces as the work from home order ends.

Table service is recommended to continue in bars, while pubs, restaurants and nightclubs are encouraged to check vaccine and testing status as a condition of entry through the NHS Covid Pass.

Boris Johnson previously suggested so-called vaccine passports would only be recommended in “nightclubs and other venues with large crowds”.

Both unions and employers criticised the guidance for Step 4 of the Prime Minister’s plan to end the lockdown, with the TUC calling it a “recipe for chaos and rising infections”.

Paddy Lillis, the general secretary of the shop union Usdaw, said: “We are very disappointed that the Government has not consulted broadly with unions and employers on this guidance.

“So what they have now published, just a few days before it comes into force, provides no assurances for staff or employers. It is a real mess.

“Protection for retail workers through wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing in busy public areas like shops should be backed up by the law.”

Dr Roger Barker, policy director at the Institute of Directors, said bosses are “understandably confused” as he criticised “a series of mixed messages and patchwork requirements”.

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