Masks in the office? Major Norfolk employers on their policies

PUBLISHED: 15:06 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:50 15 July 2020

Paul Briddon of Lovewell Blake and Jan Hytch of Arnolds Keys on whether staff have been asked to wear masks in the office. Picture: Lovewell Blake/Arnolds Keys/Getty

Paul Briddon of Lovewell Blake and Jan Hytch of Arnolds Keys on whether staff have been asked to wear masks in the office. Picture: Lovewell Blake/Arnolds Keys/Getty

Lovewell Blake/Arnolds Keys/Getty

The public and businesses alike have questioned where face masks will need to be worn in the coming weeks – and what will happen if they are not.

Currently government guidance is that customers in shops will be fined if they are not wearing a mask from July 24, though staff are not required to do so.

However in offices, pubs and restaurants, and a range of other businesses this is not compulsory.

Which has left some of Norfolk’s employers conflicted on how they should react.

Jan Hÿtch, partner at estate agents Arnolds Keys, said: “There is some ambiguity as to whether estate agents offices where the public can call in are classed as shops. We are encouraging customers to wear masks, although there is no compulsion for them to do so.”

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As well as installing perspex screens and other social distancing measures across Arnold Keys’ four offices, Ms Hÿtch said: “In our non-customer-facing offices, the wearing of masks is a personal choice for each staff member – there are masks and gloves available in all of our offices.”

At Aviva, which employs around 5,000 people in Norwich’s Surrey Street, they are also leaving it to personal choice of staff.

A spokeswoman said: “We are following the latest advice from the government. Currently, we have a small number of employees in our offices and, in line with the guidelines, we have put in place a number of measures to make our people as safe as possible.

“Employees do not need to wear face masks but we are making them available to people who choose to wear them.”

Elsewhere in the city, publishers Archant have asked staff to wear masks when walking around the building and using communal spaces – though not at their desks. Employees temperatures are also taken upon entering the building.

At accountancy firm Lovewell Blake staff are being encouraged to work from home. 
Paul Briddon, senior partner, said: “The safety of our staff and clients is paramount, and we have put in a number of measures to ensure that safety.
“We have fewer people in our offices which allows us to maintain full two-metre social distancing, both for staff and for clients visiting the offices. Staff can choose whether they wear masks in the office.”

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