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Updated 14 January 2021

Useful guidance and advice for managers on staying safe during Coronavirus

COVID-19 or Coronavirus is becoming a top priority for employers around the world. This developing pandemic event is putting pressure on already stretched managers to do more to keep up to date and protect the health, safety and welfare of their teams and service users.

This page will keep you up to date with the current Government advice and available Aberdeen City Council guidance and tools.

COSLA and the joint Trade Unions are clear that our workforce must have access to practical guidance and necessary PPE to ensure they have the confidence to carry out their roles as part of this whole system approach to tackling COVID-19. The Scottish Government have assured that they will continue to work with COSLA and the Unions on future setting-specific guidance and that they will take all possible steps to ensure all appropriate supplies are made available to the workforce.  We hope that this will give confidence to those who are receiving vital services and who are already shielding that their safety is being prioritised.

Please view COSLA’s FAQs for further information

Wearing Face Coverings

Further guidance on face coverings can be found on the Scottish Government Website.

For information on Face masks – please see the PPE section below

Employee FAQs - All Work Areas

The legislation now requires any employee (unless exempt) to wear a face covering when in the communal area of a workplace.

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering an exemption card is now available. The purpose of this card is to support people to feel more confident and safe when accessing public spaces and using public services.

It applies to all employees, agency workers and visitors to any ACC building (unless exempt).

In ACC this is being applied where someone is not seated at a desk or table or are not at their work space. “Communal area” means an area where persons mingle or gather, such as: passageways, stairs, lifts, staff rooms, training rooms, changing rooms, or entrances.

No, In ACC we require staff to wear face coverings in any communal space they work no matter the building. This requirement also applies for any workspace where staff are located.  If you are unsure if you are required to wear a face covering in some areas, please check with your manager.


If staff are working or travelling in a corridor of a housing complex or block then they will require to wear a face covering (please note, there is no mandatory requirement for residents to wear face coverings).

In workshops/depots etc if staff were working on a specific vehicle or piece of equipment, this would be their ‘workspace’ (although they may be expected to wear other PPE depending on the task), however, whilst moving between vehicles/equipment in a communal workshop, they should wear a face covering.

Yes if they are being invited into the communal areas of our buildings but not if the building is also their place of residence.

For the purpose of reducing the spread of coronavirus, a face covering is something which covers the nose and mouth. You could also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

You can remove these in areas where the wearing of face coverings is not required. For example, seated at your desk (or other workspace), a canteen table, non-communal staff toilets, outside breaks. 

Every time you apply or remove a covering, it is important that you wash or sanitise your hands first and avoid touching your face. When temporarily storing a face covering, such as in a pocket when moving between spaces, it should be placed in a washable bag or container and you should avoid placing it on surfaces, due to the possibility of contamination. After each use, you must wash the face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or in boiling water.

Face shields may be used, but only if they are worn in addition to a face covering underneath, as the evidence shows that they do not provide adequate protection.

If you are unable to wear a face covering, a face visor or face shield can be worn as it does provide a limited level of protection.

Store your face covering

Store wet or dirty coverings in a plastic bag

If your covering is wet or dirty from sweat, saliva, make-up, or other liquids or substances, keep it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it. Wash wet or dirty coverings as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming mouldy. Wet coverings can be hard to breathe through and are less effective than dry coverings.

Store coverings that are not wet or dirty in a paper bag

You can store your covering temporarily to reuse later. Remove your covering correctly and wash your hands after touching a used covering. Keep it in a dry, breathable bag (like a paper or mesh fabric bag) to keep it clean between uses. When reusing your covering, keep the same side facing out.

If you are taking off your covering to eat or drink outside of your home, you can place it somewhere safe to keep it clean, such as a paper bag. Make sure to wash or sanitize your hands after removing your covering. After eating, put the covering back on with the same side facing out. Be sure to wash or sanitize your hands again after putting your covering back on.

Wash your covering

Wash your cloth covering whenever it gets dirty or at least daily. If you have a disposable face covering, throw it away after wearing it once.

Using a washing machine

  • Include your covering with your regular laundry.
  • If possible, wash at a temperature of at least 60oC
  • If not, use regular laundry detergent and the appropriate settings according to the fabric label.
  • The soap is known to kill the virus by breaking down its layers so if it can’t be washed at 60oC then washing with a soap or detergent is effective

By hand

  • Wash your covering with tap water and laundry detergent or soap.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove detergent or soap.
  1. Dry your covering


Dry your covering completely in a warm or hot dryer

Air dry

Hang your covering in direct sunlight to dry completely. If you cannot hang it in direct sunlight, hang or lay it flat and let it dry completely.

Employee FAQs - Customer Facing

Yes, unless you have an exemption. If you work in a customer facing role in an ACC building which is open to customers of more than 1 family at the same time. There is however no need to wear a covering if you are able to guarantee the 2 metre distance or you are behind a screen when serving the customer.

Yes unless they have an exemption.

Yes, unless you have an exemption.  Face coverings are now required to be worn when you are not seated at your desk, table or your workspace.

You can remove these in areas where the wearing of face coverings is not required. For example, seated at your desk (or other workspace), a canteen table, non-communal staff toilets, outside breaks. 

Some people find the wearing of masks to be uncomfortable after a period of time. This does not need to be for an extended period of time but there should be times where staff can remove their face covering for a very short period and can be during their normal breaks, e.g. toilet and coffee breaks.  

In some services where direct care is provided then face masks would be used.  Please follow the processes established for your role.

You will need to wear a face covering when in any communal space (e.g. hallway/stairwell) or whenever you cannot maintain 2m distance while in someone’s home.

Managers' FAQs

  • any premises which open to members of the public where there is access to members of the public from more than 1 home at any one time
  • indoor zoos or visitor farms, and any other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site
  • community centres
  • crematoriums and funeral director’s premises
  • libraries and public reading rooms
  • museums and galleries
  • storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off points, e.g. a food bank

If the building fits into the description of relevant buildings above or if they have similar uses then you should:

  • Put up signage at access points to customers
  • Require customers and staff in the public areas to wear face coverings
  • Provide these face coverings for all staff who are affected, a minimum of 2 masks so they can wear one on alternate days
  • Consider providing coverings for those customers who may have forgotten

This isn’t required, but guidance does suggest that we have a supply available for those customers who may have forgotten theirs or were not aware that they are expected to wear a face covering.

Yes.  You should do this by placing signage at the entrances to a building. If visits are by appointment, you could also remind customers at this point they will be required to wear face coverings when in the building.

They will be required to wear face coverings where the 2-metre separation distance in front office settings either cannot be guaranteed or they are not sitting behind plexiglass screens. This is only where we have multiple customers in the same area, where they cannot maintain distance.

No, however there is a risk to these staff if they do not wear coverings. You should consider if they can do other non-customer facing roles instead or tasks where they would be guaranteed to be 2 metres from customers.

For staff who are exempt from wearing a face covering, an exemption card is now available. The purpose of this card is to support people to feel more confident and safe when accessing public spaces and using public services.  However, there is no requirement for exempt staff to carry this.

Yes; in ACC buildings which are open and where access is given to members of the public from more than 1 family at any one time (e.g.in a public area) then customers will need to wear face coverings at all times whilst in the building. Even if they are sitting in front of a plexiglass screen this will be required. There are exceptions to the need to wear face coverings.

Some people are not required to wear a face covering. These include:

  • Babies, toddler and children under 5 years of age, due to the possibility of overheating, suffocation and strangulation and they are safe without one. 
  • police constables or emergency response workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty 
  • owners, managers, members of staff, or volunteers, of indoor premises where it is mandatory to wear a face covering who are physically separated, by means of, for example, partition screens, from passengers or customers or if they maintain a 2 metre distance from customers or members of the public
  • In a place of worship, or at a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership, by a person leading an act of worship, service, ceremony or registration where there is a partition screen or a distance of 2 metres is maintained

Customers may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

  • they have a health condition or are disabled, including hidden disabilities, for example, autism, dementia or a learning disability, 
  • They are providing care for someone with a health condition or disability, and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety to the wearer or the person in the care of the wearer, or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently
  • Individual discretion should be applied in considering the use of face coverings for other children including, for example, children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering
  • to seek medical assistance
  • to avoid injury, illness or escape the risk of harm
  • they are taking medication and require removing their face covering to do this
  • customer or staff are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading and facial expressions to communicate
  • a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks someone to remove your face covering

For anyone who is exempt from wearing a face covering an exemption card is now available. The purpose of this card is to support people to feel more confident and safe when accessing public spaces and using public services.  It is not a requirement for those who have an exemption to carry a card, but some people may choose to do so.

No – the responsibility to wear a face covering rests with the individual.  There should be a process in place where customers are politely reminded of the need to wear face covering in our buildings.

However, not wearing a face covering is a criminal offence with the potential for a fixed penalty notice to be issued if the law is broken. Our staff are not required to enforce this law, but we ask you to talk to customers who are not wearing a face covering and explain the law. If customers refuse to wear a face covering, staff are asked not to stop customers from entering the building or from being served but should try to maintain the 2-metre distance where possible. 

If they don’t have an exemption, then please hold a discussion with them to understand any concerns they have around face coverings.  Make attempts to rectify any concerns they might have and explain that these were in place to protect the health and safety of both themselves and others.   

Support and guidance on this can be sought from Employee Relations and Corporate Health and Safety.

Returning to Work

Reinstatement of Services

It is important that now we begin to prepare for the reinstatement of some services within ACC so that when lockdown is lifted we are in a position to reopen services in a way which is safe for both staff and the citizens of Aberdeen.  This is our number one priority.    

All reinstatement guidance and documents can be found at Reinstatement of Services

COVID Age Calculator - Individual Risk Assessments

Guidance has been issued by the Scottish Government on the COVID-19 risk assessment process for all staff. This requires a workplace and individual risk assessment to be completed for all staff. These recognise the combined risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace and an individual’s clinical vulnerability to the virus. 

The guidance is particularly relevant to the following groups:  

  • staff members who are returning to work after shielding 
  • staff who are returning to normal duties after COVID-19 related restrictions 
  • staff returning to the workplace after working from home 
  • anyone who has a concern about a particular vulnerability to COVID-19. 

Full guidance on how to complete these assessments can be found and the forms to complete can be found below.  If you have any queries please contact HSW@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Requesting Office Space or Equipment

Consider only if you have employees who are struggling with their physical or mental well-being while working from home and you feel this could only be improved by returning to the office

Useful Guidance

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