Pubs urged to give staff choice about face masks

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rule change: from Monday 19 July, it is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering on public transport or in indoor settings (image: Getty/Justin Paget)
Rule change: from Monday 19 July, it is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering on public transport or in indoor settings (image: Getty/Justin Paget)

Related tags: Health and safety, Sacha Lord, Law, Employment

Operators considering banning face masks for staff members should look to give teams the freedom to choose instead, the trade has been warned.

While wearing a face covering ceased to be legal requirement last month (from Monday 19 July), the Government website states employers should support staff and customers if they choose to continue wearing a face mask.

Partner and solicitor at Nelsons Law Laura Kearsley said: “Employers should be treading really carefully and banning masks outright could put them at risk of claims and complaints from staff.

“The best approach is to give staff a choice whether they wish to wear a mask. Some staff may just feel more comfortable wearing one.

“I am not sure what the justification would be for insisting staff do not wear masks but as well as their health and safety duties, employers also owe employees a duty of trust and confidence, which could be undermined if staff are pressurised into ditching their masks.”

Night-time economy advisor and operator Sacha Lord echoed Kearsley’s comments, urging firms to be wary if considering banning face masks for staff.

Lord said: “Although face masks are no longer legally enforced across England, I continue to urge caution for those working in hospitality.

“Management across all venues should allow their staff the freedom to choose whether or not they wish to wear masks.

“I would be extremely concerned to hear of any venues banning the use of face masks and although I’m not a lawyer, I would encourage employees to seek legal advice if this is happening in their place of work.”

He went on to state while the case numbers are falling, caution must still be taken to ensure safety in venues.

Lord added: “Reports show cases are dropping but we must not get ahead of ourselves. We are still in a pandemic and must reserve caution and continue to keep employees and customers safe.

“We all remember the destruction the virus has had on the hospitality sector and it would be devastating to return back to restrictions should cases rise again.”

Related topics: Health & safety

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