The return of face coverings: advice for Sandwell shops and businesses

Face Coverings To Be Worn sign in yellow and black* * * Updated on Tuesday 7 December with links to new printable posters for your premises. * * * 

For everyone’s safety in regards to Covid-19, members of the public – and staff in public-facing areas – are required to wear face coverings in certain settings again (this took effect on 30 November 2021).

The government has published a list of settings that the new rules now apply to and they include:

• Shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
• Shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
• Auction houses
• Post offices, banks, building societies, high street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
• Estate and letting agents
• Premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (barbers, hair salons, tattoo and piercing studios, nail salons and massage centres)
• Pharmacies
• Premises providing veterinary services
• Retail galleries
• Retail travel agents
• Takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises
• Public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams, buses, coaches and ferries), taxis and private hire vehicles
• Any car or small van during a professionally delivered driving lesson, a practical driving test, or during one of the practical tests for giving driving instruction, and in all HGV lessons and tests
• Transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals).

Staff within these settings, except some transport workers, are required to wear face coverings when they are in a part of the premises that is open to the public.

These regulations will be enforced and fixed penalty notices for £200 can be issued to those not wearing a face covering unless they hold an exemption.

Face coverings are not legally required in hospitality settings, given that they cannot be worn while eating and drinking.

Notices and signs

Notices or signs must be displayed advising customers to wear a face covering. Some people will be exempt from wearing face coverings, due to their health or circumstance.

For businesses not displaying the required signage, or if they prevent people from wearing face coverings, the fixed penalty notices that can be issued start at £1,000.

You can download a PDF sign here – or go to the government website for a more detailed poster reminding people to wear a face covering where they are legally required to do so.

Sandwell Council has produced this Please Shop Safely poster for local retailers to display for their customers.

Wearing face coverings correctly

Face coverings are most effective when you wear them correctly. This means they should cover both your nose and your mouth. Some face coverings have nose clips which allow you to shape the covering around the bridge of your nose for extra comfort and security. Your face covering should not be loose or too tight.

More information on face coverings is available on the government website.

Stopping the spread of Covid-19

As someone responsible for a business, you can play a leading role in preventing the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), keeping you, your customers and your staff safe.

• Continue to follow the government’s ‘Working Safely’ guidance
• Report two or more cases of Covid-19 in your workplace by emailing – by doing so you can also get advice from Public Health to prevent a major outbreak
• Encourage your employees to get tested and, where eligible, get both the Covid-19 booster vaccine and flu jab
• Encourage regular handwashing and cleaning.

We wish you safe and successful trading in the approach to Christmas! Check out our extensive business resources to help you at every stage of running your Sandwell company.