Should face coverings be compulsory in all workplaces?

PUBLISHED: 07:35 11 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:59 11 October 2020

Norwich city centre after governent announced new mask rules. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Norwich city centre after governent announced new mask rules. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN


“Clearer, stronger measures” including the wearing of face masks in offices and other workplaces have been called for by the British Medical Association.

The medical body has warned the public is in danger of losing faith in coronavirus measures due to the Government’s “inconsistent” messaging, ahead of the unveiling of a new three-tiered system on Monday.

The doctors’ trade union body has published a list of recommendations it says could reduce the nation’s level of infection while providing people with the confidence they need to go out safely.

The BMA recommends modifying the currently rule of six with the rule saying only two households can mix in groups not exceeding six people. The group should meet ideally in an outdoors setting rather than indoors.

More: Are Norfolk and Waveney likely to get tougher coronavirus restrictions?

It also called on the government to make wearing face coverings mandatory in all offices and working environments, unless working alone, and outdoors where two-metre distancing is not possible.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the BMA, said: “The Government has a duty to regain the public’s confidence and faith in measures being taken to get the spread of the virus back under control.

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“It must also provide the financial support businesses need to enable them to make premises and settings Covid secure while providing clear rules on what ‘Covid secure’ means.”

Dr Nagpaul added there was “inconsistency” in directions relating to the wearing of facemasks and how and when to mix socially.

Recommendations were also put forward to provide medical grade masks free of charge to those over 60 or in a vulnerable group.

Providing masks free of charge to those who are exempt from prescription charges, and at entrances to person has not brought one.

More information should also be available on the test and trace app in relation to infection rates in their area and trends.

The BMA chair said: “We have drawn on a range of expertise from within the BMA to publish a set of recommendations which we feel, if introduced very quickly, could have a positive effect.

“Stronger measures brought in now could be a far sweeter pill in the long run for far more people.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the Government’s measures have been guided by the advice of experts “at every stage” of the pandemic.

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