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Wearing Face Masks in the UK Workplace

Wearing Face Masks in the UK Workplace

Transport, Retail, Education, Hospitality & Office sectors

A pragmatic employer ‘White Paper’ guide to the COVID-19 regulatory environment, PPE procurement challenges and key buying considerations for appropriate and safe workplace face mask supply.

COVID-19 Impact – Wearing face masks

Executive Summary

This white paper analyses current legislation and best practices plus takes a look at changing public sentiment with regard to wearing face masks/coverings in public and in a range of workplace environments such as Retail, Transport, Hospitality, Education and Office sectors. It aims to provide a pragmatic fact based face mask/covering guide and an aide memoire for the ‘new normal’ UK employers face as the UK economy gets back to work post lockdown and as we enter the next phase of COVID-19’s impact on society and work during 2020 and beyond.

Key issues addressed

o Views and advice from UK and International regulatory bodies, research organisations and science experts and global health authorities

o Current by country’ usage trends during the global pandemic period

o Mask types and face covering alternatives with an analysis of protection performance standards

o Procurement advice for PPE buyers

o Potential COVID-19 ‘second wave’ impact during traditional UK winter flu and cold 2020/21 season

o Key trend data

Key sector data extracts – Consumer & employer face mask sentiment and impact data in:

Transport and Retail

o Only 37% of the public are wearing face masks as of late July

o This is increasing based on mandatory wearing of face masks on Public Transport and in shops

o Retail Sales and footfall increased in June, but major city centre footfall is still very low due to working from home plus altered commuting routes, transport choices travel time habits

o In June, non-food stores, including department stores and clothes shops, partially recovered from strong falls during the lockdown but were still 15% lower than in February

o Non-essential shops in England were not allowed to reopen until 15 June, so they were only trading for half the month

o Online sales are buoyant as some shoppers stay at home


o Slow recovery due in part to above working from home and commuter travel habit changes

o Hospitality sector awaiting August eating out Government sponsored financial support plus the impact of cuts in VAT


o Slow return to work with less staff taking up additional square footage office space due to social distancing regimes with resultant staggered time & day return to work shift patterns


o The GMB are calling on the Government to change its position to mandate the wearing face masks for the safety of both students and staff in schools and colleges as pupils, parents and teachers plan for their September return date.

Download the full Whitepaper here (PDF)