Last reviewed 24 September 2020

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called for mandatory face coverings to be extended to offices and other workplaces.

The BMA was responding to the latest Covid-19 measures laid out by Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on 22 September.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA Council chair, said, “It’s encouraging that the Government has, at last, recognised the need for more stringent measures to control the virus’s spread”.

However, the Association for doctors called for further action on top of the latest measures to prevent a second peak.

Dr Nagpaul said, “The BMA has consistently argued that it was illogical for staff not to be required to wear facemasks in shops, pubs and restaurants as customers are, so we’re pleased to see this belatedly coming into force. However, given that the infection is equally likely to spread in all indoor settings, these rules should also apply to offices and other workplaces.”

He added, “The BMA has been clear that it was a mistake to encourage workers to return to offices at a time when infection rates were rising, and the reversal of this policy is a sensible and necessary step. But the Government must do more to ensure Covid-secure workplace environments for staff where homeworking isn’t possible — providing much clearer guidance and, where necessary, support for employers to put mitigating measures in place.”

The Association also called for a tightening of the “rule of six” which, potentially allows members of six different household to meet indoors whereas previously members of only two households could do so.

Dr Nagpaul said, “Data suggests that transmission between households is by far the biggest driver of infection, and this should therefore be rectified at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The Association also called for better information for the public on local spikes in infection and said people should be able to look up local infection rates in the same way they can the weather or pollen count.