Bira comments on latest Covid guidance for retailers in England

Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, met with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on 29 November 2021 to discuss the latest legal guidance regarding face coverings in England.

“I am sure that independent retailers and the employees will be as responsible as ever in implementing these new guidelines. It is important that we have the correct signage in place and encourage customers to wear masks unless they are exempt. Bira is urging the Government to give very clear messages regarding the wearing of face coverings in order to increase compliance. We all recognise that these measures are preferable to a complete lockdown at this time of year, but it will be challenging with the potential for more conflict with shoppers. Bira has always maintained that independent shops are safe and we need that message to be fully understood by the general public,” said Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO.

Changes to the guidance for retailers include the followingf:

  • The regulations only apply to face coverings. There is no requirement for social distancing or other measures such as limiting numbers in a shop
  • Face coverings are mandatory for customers in all shops and public transport, unless they are exempt
  • The rules are only for shops (not hospitality for instance)
  • Employees in customer-facing areas (shop floor, entrance, tills) need to wear masks at all times (unless exempt)
  • Masks to be worn even if the employee is behind a perspex screen
  • Employees do not need to wear masks in working in storerooms and other non-public areas
  • Notices and signs advising customers to wear masks must be visible
  • Retailers and staff are expected to remind customers to wear masks
  • Enforcement can only be carried out by police and local authorities



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