This guidance is up to date as of 2nd July 2020 and will change as new evidence becomes available. It applies to the whole of the UK. This document is for information only, you should not rely on this when making your purchasing decision, and you should make your own enquiries before deciding if ClearShield is the right solution for your setting.

Our opinion, having read the UK Government and UK Health and Safety Executive advice is that we believe that ClearShield meets the requirements as a Non Medical, Non PPE face covering, however this is just our opinion.

The UK Government position on face coverings is fairly relaxed. There is no firm guidance on what is acceptable; they recommend homemade cloth coverings, scarves or bandanas.

If you feel that wearing a face covering is not for you then you can go mask free on your own recognizance. We cannot find any solid guidance on this but I think asthma and breathing difficulties or face mask anxiety may be acceptable reasons. I don’t believe there is much enforcement.

In fact Transport for London (TFL) let you download a badge template that you can wear on public transport. This badge states you are exempt from wearing a mask. There is no requirement to give a reason and it is free to download without entering any personal information at all.

The Hospitality and Retail industries have the following requirements which can only be met with a transparent face shield:

  • Social Distancing is not possible so a mask is recommended
  • Customer and Staff want to see that steps have been taken to prevent transmission by infected people when communicating face to face
  • Front of house staff need to show their whole face and be clearly heard
  • The mask can be worn comfortably for a full shift without constant touching and adjusting.

The NHS Says:

Face coverings: Wear something that covers your nose and mouth

Health and Safety England States:

Wearing a face covering is optional in most circumstances and is generally not required in workplaces.

Face coverings are not classed as PPE. They:

  • are not manufactured to a recognised standard and not CE marked
  • do not provide a proven level of protection for work risks such as dust and spray

If people choose to wear face coverings in work you should support them.

Surgical face masks are designed to be normally worn in medical settings to limit the spread of infection. Wearing them should be very limited outside of healthcare activities because they are not generally considered to be PPE in non-healthcare situations.

The UK Government Website States

The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.

You must wear a face covering at all times on public transport or when attending a hospital as a visitor or outpatient.

If you can, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas. You should be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste – anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Sources gov.uk and HSE.gov.uk and NHS.uk

About the author : David Ellis