30 November 2021

PCS blasts DCMS for mask mandate rules

PCS has written to DCMS  condemning the newest guidance on mask wearing as being unclear, inconsistent and illogical, leaving members at increased risk of Covid infection and abuse from visitors.

After the UK government's announcement on 28 November that mask wearing would again become mandatory in many indoor spaces in the UK, PCS wrote to DCMS seeking clarity on what this meant for indoor heritage and culture spaces. We were clear in our expectations to ensure staff safety, particularly in the lead up to Christmas, that masks should be mandatory across the sector. While there was some rationale given for exempting hospitality settings, none of these applied to culture spaces.

Disappointingly DCMS responded on 30 November saying that mask wearing would “Only be mandatory in shops inside venues, and not in the remaining spaces”. It seems in the government’s view, Covid is only contagious in settings where you can spend money!

Inconsistent rules, lack of clarity and lack of any sensible rationale for rules leaves PCS members at increased risk, and entirely unable to enforce rules. Not only has the government’s position left staff at greater risk of contracting Covid in the lead up to Christmas, it also increases the risk of abuse from visitors if they try to enforce unclear rules. This demonstrates a staggering disregard for the health, safety, and wellbeing of culture sector workers, many of whom are public servants.

PCS is committed to fighting for the safety and wellbeing of our members and indeed all workers across the culture and heritage sector. We will therefore be launching a survey of members to inform our response to the government’s failure to, and indeed its decision not to, support or protect its own workers.

It has never been more important to belong to a union fighting for your wellbeing. Join PCS today.