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Hi please see extract from parish meeting summons for this week

"Masks to be worn at all times before and during the meeting except when asked to speak"

To me this implies that masks are mandatory, I did not think this was the case anymore, if this is the case could the summons be invalid - miss leading the public about having to wear a mask, discriminating against those that have problems wearing a mask?

Technical question, if a summons is invalid and the meeting goes ahead - does this mean that the meeting is invalid and therefore any decisions made are also invalid?
by (320 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
The owner of any property, whether indoors or outdoors, has the power to specify how people should behave whilst on that property. The mask issue doesn't affect the validity of the summons. The meeting has been called and those who attend should abide by these rules in the same way that they abide by the council's many other rules regarding conduct at meetings. If somebody refuses to cooperate, they are in breach of the standing orders regarding acceptable conduct and may be asked to leave.
by (52.9k points)
surely only if it is the meeting that has made that rule - it cannot be decided 'by dictat'. This will be a change to standing orders requiring a mask to be worn. The owner of the building (I assume the Council) may make any rules they wish but the Council must decide the rule (unless they are renting the space and the owner requires it as a term of the rental agreement). There are also exemptions from mask wearing and this simple rule ignores those and so may be working against the EA requirements.
There is no need to change the standing orders. This is a prudent public health decision for a single meeting, with the option of repetition for future meetings. The operator of the building must have an up-to-date Covid risk assessment and Covid-safe policies and procedures. If these state that masks are required, there is no option, apart from those individuals who have a valid exemption. If the operator doesn't require masks, individual user groups may still do so.

The challenge we face with Omicron is that many people who have it are unaware of that fact, which explains the huge number of cases we are seeing. My village halls and community centres are still requiring masks for all events and activities, as case numbers in our area remain high. We must all play our part.
I have no problem with the request to wear masks except that it should contain the words 'unless exempt'. I am exempt myself due to COPD. I did try to wear a mask but simply could not do so, it affected my already reduced ability to breath even more. By personal choice I use a visor, the better air flow allows me to cope with this. But it does not legally constitute a mask. Without the 'unless exempt' wording it may stop some councillors from being able to attend. And possibly be illegal?

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