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Face coverings are required by law to be worn inside bank branches
HSBC has issued a warning to customers as retailers step up coronavirus safety measures amid a further 1,243 deaths.
The lender – which also owns First Direct and Marks & Spencer bank – said customers who break the law could forfeit their bank account.
Speaking to The Mirror, a spokesman said face masks are mandatory in all branches as per government guidelines.
Those who refuse to comply will be refused service and could have their bank accounts withdrawn.
Jackie Uhi, head of branch network, HSBC UK said: “Our branch colleagues are key workers, continuing to go to work in our branches every day so that customers who need them can access essential financial services.
“Sadly, some people are failing to protect themselves, our branch colleagues and other customers by refusing to wear a face covering inside our branches or observe social distancing.
“Our colleagues deserve respect and should not have to face violent or abusive behaviour. Consider whether you need to visit the branch or could manage your banking from the safety of your home via our digital channels.
“If you do visit us, please wear a face covering and maintain a safe distance from others. If individuals put themselves or our colleagues at risk, without a medical exemption, we reserve the right to withdraw their account”
The Post Office said customers must obey the law, but warned it will not be enforcing measures.
“Postmasters that they can ask a customer who is not wearing a facemask if they are medically exempt, but the customer is not required to provide medical proof if they do not have it with them when they visit a branch,” a spokesman said.
“Post Office will implement any updated guidance issued by the UK Government or Devolved Governments. At this stage, Post Office has not advised Postmasters to refuse entry to any customer that does not have a face mask.
The stark warning comes as the UK records its second deadliest day since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a further 1,243 lives lost to the virus.
The Department of Health also confirmed that 45,533 people had tested positive in the past 24 hours.
Only once, last Friday, has the daily death toll been higher, when 1,325 fatalities were announced.
It brings the UK’s official coronavirus death toll to 83,203.
The rise in cases has triggered new safety measures across the high street, with essential stores increasing security to help curb infection rates.
German discounter Aldi said customers will be turned away at the door if they don’t comply with coronavirus rules from today.
Giles Hurley, chief executive officer at Aldi UK said: “The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority. Wearing a mask is mandatory for everyone that shops at Aldi, except for the small number of people who have a medical exemption.”
Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have also introduced similar measures this week.
“To protect our customers and colleagues, we won’t let anyone into our stores who is not wearing a face covering, unless they are exempt in line with government guidance,” market leader Tesco said in a statement.
“Our colleagues are working hard in difficult circumstances to make sure everyone can get what they need, and we’d ask everyone to please be kind, patient and respectful as we all work to keep each other safe.”
Tesco said it was also asking customers to shop alone, unless they are a carer or with children.
It has also put in additional security in stores to manage the change in stance.
Asda issued a similar statement. It said if customers had forgotten a face covering, it would continue to offer them one free of charge.
“But should a customer refuse to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and be in any way challenging to our colleagues about doing so – our security colleagues will refuse their entry,” it said.
The John Lewis Partnership also said face coverings would be mandatory at its Waitrose supermarkets.
The British Retail Consortium, which represents more than 170 major retailers including the big supermarket groups, said on Monday it was the police’s responsibility to enforce face coverings and called for their support.