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Masks “not mandatory” for patients in optical practices

New government regulations around wearing masks in public have outlined that patients are not legally required to wear face coverings when visiting optical practices, though industry representatives have recommended that patients are “encouraged” to wear a mask where they are not exempt.

The wearing of face coverings in shops became compulsory in England from 24 July, though the regulations also set out a list of settings where a face covering is not mandatory, including premises providing “wholly or mainly medical services”, such as dentistry and optometry.

The College of Optometrists updated its guidance on Friday to align with the government regulations, though clinical adviser, Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, commented: “Although this means it won’t be possible to legally enforce the wearing of face coverings, we recommend practices encourage their patients to wear face covering unless the patients has an acceptable reason resulting in an exemption.”

Speaking to OT last week as the Government released the new rules, Dr Peter Hampson, AOP clinical director, emphasised: “The AOP’s opinion is that it is good practice to insist patients wear face coverings while in practice – to help protect everyone in the practice.

 

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