Advice on Personal Protective Equipment
We are working around the clock to make sure frontline workers are protected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Council is doing everything it can to help source the crucial personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to safeguard public sector workers and help support our independent care providers, dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
We are currently experiencing sustained transmission of COVID-19 across the UK.
This means that the virus is now widespread within the community, with some residents showing no symptoms which can make it difficult to assess the correct PPE that should be worn.
Advice for the General Public
In England, you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings (a list of examples for each is included in the brackets):
- public transport (aeroplanes, trains, trams and buses)
- taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs)
- transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
- shops and supermarkets (places which offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
- shopping centres (malls and indoor markets)
- auction houses
- premises providing hospitality (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when seated at a table to eat or drink (see exemptions)
- post offices, banks, building societies, high-street solicitors and accountants, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses
- estate and lettings agents
- premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing parlours)
- premises providing veterinary services
- visitor attractions and entertainment venues (museums, galleries, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, cultural and heritage sites, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, bingo halls, amusement arcades, adventure activity centres, indoor sports stadiums, funfairs, theme parks, casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas including soft-play areas)
- libraries and public reading rooms
- places of worship
- funeral service providers (funeral homes, crematoria and burial ground chapels)
- community centres, youth centres and social clubs
- exhibition halls and conference centres
- public areas in hotels and hostels
- storage and distribution facilities
You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.
You should also wear a face covering in indoor places not listed here where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.
The Department for Education (DfE) has updated its guidance on the use of face coverings for schools and other education institutions that teach people in years seven and above in England.
Different regulations exist for wearing face coverings in different parts of the UK:
Wherever possible people should continue to avoid public transport and walk, cycle or drive, but for some people this may not be an option.You still need to maintain social distancing, where possible and continue with regular hand washing.
If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you can make this clear when visiting shops or travelling on public transport by printing one of these face mask exemption (PDF, 208KB) or severe learning disability information cards (PDF, 337KB) and carrying it with you when you leave home. You do not need a certificate from your GP to prove you are exempt.
We strongly urge residents not to purchase surgical masks or respirators so these can be prioritised for healthcare workers, who are working in more high-risk environments, where the risk is greatest.
How to make your own face coverings at home
Guidance for employees
The Government has updated PPE guidance to make it more precautionary and in line with social distancing measures to ensure that all employees who work in direct contact with people (within two metres) are protected from risk of transmission.
A PPE Hub Webpage is available, providing guidance for a range of health and social care and non-health and social care settings.
Non-health and social care settings - When and how to use PPE
If your work does not involve direct contact with people (i.e. you can undertake your work from a safe distance of two metres or more), no PPE is required unless you are undertaking work in a person’s home where any family member is 'shielding' due to medical reasons.
Advice for protecting shielded people
If your work involves you to work within two metres of a person you will need to wear a disposable surgical mask.
If your work requires direct contact with a person (i.e. touching) or you are working within two metres of anyone who is coughing you will need to wear a disposable fluid resistant (Type IIR) surgical mask, disposable gloves, disposable apron and assess whether eye protection is required.
Eye protection must be worn where there is a risk of contamination from splashes, droplets (including coughing), blood or body fluids.
Guidance on PPE to be used
PPE is only effective when combined with:
- Hand hygiene - cleaning your hands regularly and appropriately
- Respiratory hygiene - avoiding touching your face with your hands
- Taking care when removing PPE after use. Hands should be washed / hand sanitiser applied after removing each item of PPE
- Disposal of PPE safely - double bag any used PPE prior to disposal. The bag(s) of used PPE should be labelled, stored safely, put aside for 72 hours until disposed of with your normal waste
Infection prevention and control guidance
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