From 24th July shoppers must wear masks when going into garden centre buildings, but not employees.
Garden centres have taken a range of measures to protect employees and customers with screens, managed customer flows and clear signage. So what mask policy will garden centres follow for staff?
Garden centre policy for staff
The HTA does not believe it prudent to issue advice beyond government guidelines. It says garden centres should make their own judgement.
This has set garden centre chat lines buzzing as owners ask what others are doing. The Garden Centre Association says some companies have decided to enforce the wearing of masks, but believes the majority of companies will leave it as a personal decision for each staff member.
Blue Diamond has a clear position, “that our teams in both our garden centres and restaurants will not be required to wear face coverings.”
Judging by the negative comments on social media to staff not covering up while serving in some garden centre restaurants, it seems social pressure might be the biggest motivator to mask-up.
Who will police customers?
The Governments in Scotland and England have made it clear it is not the retailer’s responsibility to enforce government legislation.
Some police forces have also indicated they have better things to do. Devon and Cornwall police said its officers don't have time to respond to calls about the face coverings, unless they involve a public order offence.
The experience in Scotland, where face masks are already compulsory in shops, is that the disproval of other mask wearing shoppers is the main factor that persuades others to follow the rules.
Masks are not a replacement for other hygiene measures
The underlying evidence for wearing masks is weak.
The government says face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace.