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Optometrists – How will optometrists be affected by COVID-19 restrictions ending?

Optometrists - How will optometrists be affected by COVID-19 restrictions ending?

From mask-wearing to social distancing. OT  details six issues for the profession as measures imposed during the pandemic ease in England. This article has been updated (21 July 2021). Done to reflect the withdrawal of the NHSEI Optical SOP and sector body guidance around this.

The removal of COVID-19 restrictions on 19 July within England is a milestone moment. However, the removal of many of the legal restrictions imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19 has been met with apprehension as well as celebration. While for some the occasion is a welcome return to a semblance of normality. Others have expressed concern that the changes will cause confusion and exacerbate rising case numbers.

A poll by the Observer earlier this month (July) found that half of those surveyed were in favor of pushing back ‘freedom day.’

How will this transition affect optometry? OT sets out the implications of the new normal for the profession and asks optometrists for their views on the path forward.

1 Should staff and patients in England continue to wear face coverings in optical practices?

In a nutshell, yes and yes.

The Government has confirmed that health and care settings should continue to follow appropriate infection and control measures after July 19 in England. The optical bodies have stated that practices should continue to follow the College of Optometrists' Amber phase guidance. As well as the General Optical Council’s supporting statements for the amber phase. Optical sector bodies have recommended that patients and the public wear face coverings when on practice premises and when receiving eye care.

Practice team members should continue to wear face masks as part of existing infection prevention and control measures. A set of practical steps that staff can take when a patient cannot or will not wear a face mask has been outlined by optical bodies.

You can read the full article on the Optometry Today website, by clicking here

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