Businesses should consider recommending their use where other mitigations are not in place

The Builders Merchants Federation has issued guidance to its members based in England on face coverings after the recent Government announcement that all customers will have to wear a face covering when entering retail premises from Friday 24 July.

The devolved countries have their own guidance to be followed which can be accessed here:

People are also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet.

It is the BMF's understanding that this also applies to merchant branches and that customers coming onto a merchants' branch need to wear a face covering when interacting with staff.

Customers should not be permitted to enter a branch if they are not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt from doing so, for example for health, age or equality reasons.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, addressed members by saying: "It is not compulsory for workers in shops and branches to wear face coverings where they are not part of usual health and safety measures. However, businesses should consider recommending their use where other mitigations are not in place, for example screens or visors, and it does not hinder workers for example speaking to or supporting customers.

"Employees do not need to cover their face while driving a forklift or company vehicle (unless there is more than one person in the vehicle) or while working outside, for example in a yard, unless social distancing cannot be maintained."

Newcomb added that the police will have powers to enforce these rules, including issuing £100 penalty notices for non-compliance.

"We await any further updated and detailed guidance from BEIS and the Construction Leadership Council. When received we will inform you," he said.

The BMF also provided copy of guidance on face coverings that Bradfords has issued to its staff, as an example of how one of its members is communicating this issue with its own employees.