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Well to 'respect' patients who will not wear face mask beyond July 19

Well pharmacy teams will respect customers who may decide not to wear face masks once COVID-19 restrictions are loosened, the multiple has told C+D.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week (July 5) that the government expects to end the one metre plus rule on social distancing and the legal obligation to wear a face covering after July 19 – which is set as a tentative start date to step four, one of the final phases on the roadmap out of lockdown.

The government will confirm next week whether COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted on July 19.

A spokesperson for Well told C+D that the multiple “acts and responds quickly to the government and NHS guidance”.

“We appreciate that, once the restrictions are lifted, some customers may choose not to wear face coverings anymore and our teams will respect this,” they added.

Waiting for full guidance

A spokesperson for Lloydspharmacy told C+D that the multiple is “waiting for full guidance next week before we finalise our position on this”.

A Rowlands spokesperson echoed Lloydspharmacy’s stance. “We will be looking to update our policy on face masks and social distancing as and when formal guidance from the government is received,” they said.

“We have branches across England, Wales and Scotland so are mindful of ongoing country-specific discussions happening about the lifting of restrictions,” they added.

C+D reached out to Boots for comment.

AIMp: Pharmacy actions “informed by localised risk assessments”

The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) said that it is “too early” to decide on whether mask-wearing should continue beyond July 19.

“AIMp can help our members by aggregating information and knowledge from among the members and using that to give guidance,” AIMp CEO Leyla Hannbeck told C+D.

“At this time it is too early to say what the direction of travel of our members will be as their actions will be informed by localised risk assessments, best practice and from their in-depth practical knowledge of operating community pharmacies,” Dr Hannbeck added.

The National Pharmacy Association insisted that pharmacies are not just “mere retail outlets” and therefore “a certain level of caution” is required.

Earlier this week (July 6), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said it was "vital" that mask-wearing continued in pharmacies beyond July 19.

Following a press briefing from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 5, chair of RPS England Thorrun Govind stated that continuing wearing masks in pharmacies is “vital” and that it should be extended beyond July 19.

Will you ask your patients to wear a face mask when visiting your pharmacy, after July 19?

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