The government and scientific advice on the use of face covering has taken a while to settle out over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, but over the last few months, wearing face coverings in a range of settings has become commonplace. However, the use of face coverings in the workplace was not clarified until recently.
Last week, the Scottish Government announced that face coverings are now mandatory in indoor communal areas within the workplace, such as in corridors and social spaces. Of course, the guidance still stands that if you can work from home, then you should until further notice, but from this week onwards, if you are in the workplace for any reason, your employees will have to wear a face covering when they are in any communal areas such as lifts, stairwells, corridors and kitchens.
The guidance outlines that employees can take their face covering off once seated at their workstation or in meeting or break out rooms where they are observing social distancing, but they will be required to put their face covering back on when entering or exiting a meeting or break out room or when moving around the workplace.
Some employers may already have such rules in place or have additional requirements such as wearing a mask at all times whilst an employee is at their work station, for example, in shops or hospitality settings where employees are in contact with the public, and the above sets out the new minimum requirements for employers. In addition, this guidance currently only applies in Scotland so if you have locations in other parts of their UK, you may need to vary your approach.
We would recommend you advise your employees of this new requirement, and provide guidance to them on what is required to meet the new requirements and your own internal policies. It is also advisable to signpost a point of contact to staff if they are unable to wear a face covering for any reason e.g. health reasons to allow you to make an appropriate risk assessment.
We will continue to keep you updated on helpful guidance relating to employment throughout the pandemic, and encourage you to get in touch if there is anything at all you need support with.
To discuss how we can help you, please contact us on 0141 221 2984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.