Whenever the Prime Minister, his colleagues, or spokespeople give an instruction to the population about what we must or must not do in relation to Covid precautions, it is seldom presented in crystal clear terms.
Think back to the much-mocked ‘Stay alert, go to work, don’t go to work, go out, don’t go out’ confusion last May. And whether we should all be staying at home or instead be driving to Barnard Castle for a mobile eye test…
Now we are told that the government is about to announce that wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100.
An EYE reader was quick to ask whether the face mask rule would apply to estate agency offices.
Whilst it is pretty clear that it is sensible to wear a face covering whenever in an enclosed public space, unless the government is makes it very clear, there will be those who will circumvent the rules simply because they can.
Saying that the new rule will apply to ‘shops and supermarkets’ will leave open a very wide range of interpretation which will affect whether or not estate agency branches are included or not.
Most estate agency branches will be operating under an A2 use class.
A2 is financial and professional services – Financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) and including estate and employment agencies.
And that is distinct from A1 – Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices, pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes.
So, is your estate agency branch a shop or an office? Discuss.
Whatever the answer, we can probably all agree that managing the Covid crisis is something that few of us would choose as an occupation.