We have received an enquiry about face coverings so thought this might be a good opportunity to confirm some of the information shared and discussed via our ‘Coffee Shop’ members forum over the past few months.
- Government guidelines should be followed, that are relevant to the area local to your contact centre.
- Once you have considered local government guidelines, you should think about completing a risk assessment relevant to your centre.
- The two above would help you to come to a conclusion about facemasks.
We would advise taking an overly cautious approach here and promoting the wearing of facemasks for as many people within contact centres as possible, particularly when moving around the building.
Children are usually exempt from rules relating to masks and it is not difficult to imagine that having a face covering might be quite distressing for them. Therefore, any risk assessment made by centres should take this into account and individual assessments might need to happen for individual children.
Some parents might be exempt or might say that they are exempt. They might or might not have some kind of proof of this or you might know of a condition that would make them exempt. For these people, it is strongly recommended that an individual assessment is written specifically in relation to their needs and any vulnerabilities they might have in order to ascertain whether it is considered safe for them any everyone else for them to be in the centre without a face covering.
There are potential ethical issues about asking someone to prove that they do or do not have a disability that might make them exempt from wearing face masks, which can make it difficult to reach a conclusion in line with the guidance in this article. In some cases, we might be best placed to take their word for it.
However, there are schemes running across the uk, whereby people can access lanyards to evidence this. More information about an example of this can be found here. However, there is a cost associated and there seems nothing to stop anyone joining regardless of vulnerability levels.
Once an approach has been adopted, it is advisable to make this as clear as possible for all families. You might want to consider a temporary set of rules, or rules specific to Covid. You might consider adding Covid specific content to contact agreements when you set these up or review these. Covid agreements should always be discussed at pre-visit and any opportunity before this. It’s also a good idea to have reminder posters at the centre.As with everything related to Covid, the science is constantly changing and therefore so is the advice, therefore it is advisable to monitor local government guidance and to ensure that a centres approach can adapt to this in a streamlined way.