FACE masks or coverings are now mandatory for people visiting shops.

This will have a large impact on deaf and hard of hearing people who rely heavily on lip-reading and facial expressions.

One in six people in the UK suffer from hearing loss, with many already vulnerably isolated due to communication difficulties, we are worried about how this extra blow to their communication needs might affect their wellbeing.

We are writing to make you aware of this and the fact that Government guidelines state that under reasonable adjustments, a deaf or hard of hearing person can ask for a member of staff to remove their mask to enable them to communicate.

We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone, and the priority has to be keeping everybody safe including staff and the general public, the guidelines we have provided will hopefully help retailers to manage the situation effectively.

There are badges available for deaf and hard of hearing people to wear to enable staff members to recognise the need to remove their face covering but not everyone is comfortable in labelling themselves.

Thank you for your understanding. We are available to offer further guidance if needed.

Amie Johnson, outreach team leader, Deafness Resource Centre, Dentons Green