UK unions warn of staff abuse if face mask mandate took effect

UK unions warn of staff abuse if face mask mandate took effect

Asking shoppers to wear masks, a labor union said, could prompt abuse and put workers as targets if they are the ones to enforce the rule.

It looks like England retail workers are not exempted from the possibility of staff abuse due to face mask mandates. In a report first published by BBC, labor unions warned that using workers to enforce face mask rule in shops could prompt abuse.

The warning came after England followed suit other European countries and ordered face coverings as compulsory in shops and supermarkets.

Workers enforcing face mask rule could experience abuse

Earlier last week, Waterstones boss James Daunt had a talk with BBC’s Today Programme and commended England’s latest health protocol—which is to use face coverings in shops and supermarkets.

Daunt said it is a “reasonable thing,” particularly that face mask is now proven to help in mitigating the spread of coronavirus. However, the Waterstones boss argued that letting retail staffs impose and administer the mandate “would not be right.”

In his interview, Daunt further explained:

“There are a tiny minority of people who will be confrontational over it, and it is not the position of shop workers to enter into that situation. We should not put ourselves in confrontational positions, but I think we can, as retailers, if we are requested to do so.”

Union Usdaw’s general secretary Paddy Lillis also echoed the same sentiment. He said that the enforcement of the law should not fall on retail employees.

“We must be careful that this does not become a trigger for abuse against shop owners and their employees,” Mike Cherry, the national chair of Federation of business, also said.

The face mask mandate will take effect on July 24. People who will be caught not wearing face masks, as per the measure, will be fined between US$57 [AU$81] to $114 [AU$162].

The problem with anti-mask customers

U.K. unions’ concern has been happening lately. In the U.S., several incidents involving staff abuse occurred as the country tries to encourage its people to wear face coverings when going out.

UK unions warn of staff abuse if face mask mandate took effect

Restaurateurs in California, for instance, were forced to temporarily shut their doors again after aggressive anti-mask customers repeatedly harassed their workers.

“Our taco stands are exhausted with the constant conflicts,” Hugo’s Tacos shared in a statement posted on Twitter. Due to the non-stop harassment, the business was facing, the owner decided to close both its Atwater Village and Studio City restaurants indefinitely.

The same events transpired in states like Michigan and Arkansas as well. Mexican Fiesta, a Michigan-based restaurant, shared that “multiple events” of staff abuse happened in its establishment as well. Hence, the closing.

Images courtesy of Anna Shvets, Ksenia Chernaya/Pexels

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