Face Coverings – Guidance for Pharmacy Teams

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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Following the Scottish Government’s announcement that face coverings would be mandatory in enclosed indoor spaces such as shops and pharmacies as of the 10th of July, an official information page has now been published which should answer most of your and your patients’ questions. We recommend that team members read and understand this page, and have pulled together some supplementary information below that may also be of further use:

  • Enforcement: this will be carried out by the police, with no expectation that pharmacy team members carry out this duty. No tasers.
  • There are some exceptions to the law for those who cannot wear a face covering due to existing health conditions – but it is not a definitive list e.g. everyone with COPD. Each individual will make their own assessment of whether they can reasonably wear a mask, and again any challenge to these decisions is for the police to make.
  • You may, however, wish to remind people of the law change – whether to further reduce the risk to your team and other patients or to help individuals avoid fines
  • Some people will feel very strongly about this issue, whether they support mandatory face coverings or are opposed to the idea – and some of your colleagues will no doubt also have a position on the matter. It may be useful to have a think ahead to some of the scenarios you may come across, and plan how you might address each. Clearly, you can’t rugby tackle anyone to the ground and force a mask on them – but if you so wish, you can make your services available in different ways to minimise unnecessary contact.
  • The information page mentioned above says that if workers are physically separated by a screen from customers/clients/patients then the team members do not have to wear a face covering or mask. This will be true for e.g. bus drivers, but our previous advice on wearing PPE in the pharmacy still stands – this is critical to protect the team and the pharmacy service from each other.