Landlords who visit their letting agent’s branch for a catch-up should wear a mask when inside the office, the government has urged.

From today onwards it is mandatory for everyone to wear masks in shops, enclosed shopping centres, supermarkets, train and bus stations as well as banks and building societies or risk a £100 fixed penalty fine if they refuse to do so after being asked.

The new regulations are not specific about estate agencies – somewhat strangely as many high streets contain dozens of them – but the guidance issued last night by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local government to the industry nevertheless strongly encourages landlords and tenants visiting branches to wear them.

“The face covering regulations do not explicitly refer to estate and letting agents but we would strongly encourage all members of the public who are visiting an agent’s office or viewing a property to wear a suitable face covering in order to prevent the spread of infection,” it says.

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“We would also recommend that any agent who is interacting directly with the public also wears a face covering unless other protective measures are in place such as a screen.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock, who has set the new regulations to last for a year, says: “Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance.

“I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe.”

Read more about keeping safe during Covid.

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