// London Mayor Sadiq Khan writes to supermarkets & shops urging them to stock face masks for commuters
// He stressed that they should not be medical-grade PPE, so resources are not diverted from the NHS
// Bira is also urging its members & wider retail sector to stock up on re-usable face coverings
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has written to supermarkets and shops urging them to stock face masks for commuters using the capital’s public transport.
Khan is asking stores to help Londoners access reusable non-medical face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus in enclosed spaces, especially with lockdown restrictions set to be eased on the high street from the start of June.
Following the UK Government guidance being updated to advise people to wear face coverings in enclosed places where it is difficult to maintain social distancing, Khan said he wanted everyone using London’s public transport to use them for their journeys.
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“I would like to ask for your help with ensuring Londoners are able to access non-medical face coverings to help prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the Mayor of London wrote in a letter sent today.
“Although Londoners should stay at home as much as possible, I am asking those who must use public transport for essential travel to wear a non-medical face covering for the entirety of their journey.
“Furthermore, I hope that Londoners will choose to wear face coverings when out doing their shopping, helping to keep you, your staff and their fellow customers safe.”
Khan said that while City Hall was encouraging people to use homemade face coverings, there would be people who will want to buy ready-made ones instead.
However, he stressed that the coverings available in stores should not be medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE), to make sure supplies are not diverted from frontline NHS and care staff.
“I am therefore urging you to stock supplies of reusable, non-medical face coverings in all of your London stores, at a price point that makes them accessible to all Londoners,” Khan wrote.
“Coverings for the public sale should not be medical-grade PPE as we must not divert supplies of this vital protective equipment from health, care and other key workers in the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.”
The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is also urging its members and the wider retail sector to stock up on re-usable face coverings to keep the public safe during the transition out of lockdown.
Working alongside Khan, Bira is urging shops such as hardware stores to stock up to make sure there are enough to meet demand.
“Independent retailers want to play their part in keeping customers safe and giving consumers confidence to return to the shops as and when they open,” Bira chief executive Andrew Goodacre said.
“As they tend to sell PPE, we want to ensure local hardware stores ramp up supply to keep the public safe, to help people avoid needing to travel to the larger, more populated, out of town DIY stores to buy masks.
“We also want to help protect the NHS supply chain by ensuring the public are sold face coverings that are not those used by the NHS and other health service key workers.”
with PA Wires