HSBC Bank says the wearing of face masks is now compulsory in all its branches, a measure designed to comply with the government’s face-covering mandate.

The London-based multinational bank has warned customers that their accounts will be “withdrawn” if they refuse to wear a face mask.

A spokesman said bank employees will strictly enforce the injunction to comply with the government lockdown guidelines, as the death toll from the pandemic continues to mount.

“Our colleagues deserve respect”

Jackie Uhi, head of branch network for HSBC UK, said:

“Our branch colleagues are key workers are continuing 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 requests customers use face masks

The Post Office also said in turn that customers must obey the law but warned it will not be enforcing measures.

A spokesman for the postal service said:

“Postmasters that they can ask a customer who is not wearing a face mask 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.

“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.”

It comes as the UK recorded its second deadliest day since the pandemic began last March.

What the government said

The UK government has issued a list of indoor settings where a face covering is mandatory. These range from public transportation to entertainment venues to places of worship.

People are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until they leave, unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

They should also wear a face covering in indoor places not included on the list where social distancing may be difficult and where they will come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are also advised to be worn in care homes.

The major British supermarkets are also saying they will ban shoppers who refuse to wear face masks in stores.