Face coverings – A Staff and Volunteer Briefing from our Executive Team.  Thursday 27th August 2020.

Following government health and social care guidance on the wearing of face coverings in non-clinical areas, we would ask that you please observe the following changes to practice that will come in to force at our charity sites from Monday 31st August. This includes both of our hospices, all offices and warehouses.

  • All staff and volunteers must wear face coverings in communal areas, offices, corridors and warehouses.
  • All rooms will be designated Covid-19 secure where possible and posters on doors will identify how many staff/volunteers may be in the room to maintain them as Covid-19 secure.
  • Two-meter distancing must always be maintained where possible and where not possible, face coverings must be worn.
  • If non-clinical staff and volunteers are in their offices, either on their own or where two-meter distances can be maintained safely, then face coverings may be removed.

Our Health & Safety lead will ensure all areas are assessed, and re-assessed as required, to ensure guidelines for Covid-19 secure areas are maintained. If you’re unsure, please contact Dave Johns or Ally Hardman for advice.

To preserve stores of medical face masks for clinicians and key clinical workers (housekeeping, maintenance and catering) please use a clean face covering of your own if at all possible.

Some people don’t have to wear a face covering. They include those who are unable to put on, or wear, a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or disability, people for whom wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress and anyone assisting someone who relies on lip reading to communicate (if any of these apply to you, we can provide you with a visor).

You may take your face covering off if…

  • You need to eat, drink or take medication
  • A police officer or other official asks you to

There are some people who question whether face coverings work. We’re following guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) who say non-medical face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing isn’t possible. Coronavirus is spread when droplets are sprayed into the air when infected people talk, cough or sneeze. Those droplets can then fall on surfaces. The WHO says there’s also emerging evidence of airborne transmission of the virus, with tiny particles hanging in aerosol form in the air.

Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the spread from people who are contagious, but have no symptoms or are yet to develop symptoms.

Scientists in Singapore suggest the contagion risk is especially high in the 24 to 48 hours before an infected person is even aware they might have the disease.

Please remember to maintain hand hygiene, as detailed below, and dispose of or clean your face covering carefully.

It’s vital that you remember all hand washing and hygiene procedures are still extremely important. Please regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitiser wherever prompted and if washing facilities aren’t available.

Lastly, please also remember the phrase CATCH IT – BIN IT – KILL IT when sneezing and blowing your nose.

Thank you as always for your support and understanding,

Gina Starnes and Graham Clarke