Vending machines will be available to buy masks if shoppers forget theirs
Hand Sanitiser At Westfield Centre. Picture: Westfield London
Shoppers at Europe’s biggest mall will have to don face masks on Friday (24 July) or they won’t be allowed in to visit the stores.
The Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush is back open from 10am to 10pm for those in need of retail therapy.
But because of the pandemic things are a little different.
The mall’s owners Unibail-Rodmaco-Westfield said they are working with shops to “support the health and safety” of staff and shoppers.
From Friday it becomes mandatory for shoppers to wear face coverings but shop staff don’t have to.
According to the government: “The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.”
And it stressed that it was essential to maintain other safety measures, including hand washing, and social distancing as face coverings “are mainly intended to protect others.”
Shops and supermarkets can refuse entry to people who are not wearing face masks. And police can fine people £100 if they do not wear a mask.
People already have to wear face masks on public transport and in NHS centres.
There will be vending machines selling face masks at Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush and its sister mall Westfield Stratford City.
The malls already have one way systems, hand sanitiser stations and signs actively encouraging people to keep two metres away from each other.
And mall staff are spreading the safety messages through a visual advertising campaign called Working Together, as well as through tannoy announcements.
Mall staff and security teams are also passing on the message.
A company spokeswoman explained it’s down to the individual shops to arrange health and safety measures including wearing face masks in store.
“All retailers have completed risk assessments and are updating their measures as new government guidance is issued to ensure they remain Covid secure.”
Some food stores and pharmacies remained open at Westfield London during lockdown.
Other non-essential stores started reopening from June 15 when the government gave the go-ahead.
In its recent guidance the government said as face masks cover the nose and mouth which are the main sources of virus transmission they can protect others.
People can buy reusable or single use face coverings or use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering, but these must securely fit round the side of the face.
They need to cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably.
They should be secured to the head with ties or ear loops and made of a comfortable and breathable fabric such as cotton – ideally at least two layers of fabric. The World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used.
And unless people are using disposable face masks they should be washed with other laundry and dried carefully.
People should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on. They should avoid touching their nose and mouth whilst wearing it.
And they should also be careful when removing it – wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser first and only handle the straps, ties or clips, not the fabric covering.
And people should wash their hands thoroughly again with soap and water or hand sanitiser for 20 seconds after taking the covering off.
They shouldn’t share masks with anyone else and should dispose of single-use masks carefully in a bin, not the recycling.
Reusable ones should be washed at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric.
A spokesperson for Westfield said, " we continue to work closely with our retailers to support the health and safety of visitors to our centres including shoppers and employees. Throughout our malls we have a number of measures in place including one way systems and hand sanitising stations as well as actively encouraging social distancing of 2m.
"From 24 July, in line with government guidelines, we will also be encouraging visitors to wear masks. Vending machines containing face coverings will be installed at both centres for visitors to purchase. These safety measures are being communicated around the centres through a visual advertising campaign, Working Together, as well as through our onsite guest services and security teams and our tannoy announcements.
"Within the stores themselves, each of our retailers is responsible for the implementation of health and safety measures including the wearing of face masks by customers. All retailers have completed risk assessments and are updating their measures as new government guidance is issued to ensure they remain Covid secure."
Julia Gregory - Local Democracy Reporter
August 3, 2020