HSBC Bank warns customers could have accounts closed if they refuse to wear face masks in branches

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HSBC has warned customers that they could close down their accounts if they refuse to wear face masks in branches.

However, those who are medically exempt will still be allowed to visit banks without a face covering.

HSBC could close down the accounts of customers who refuse to wear face masks

Banks are allowed to stay open during the third lockdown in England as they provide essential financial services.

But as part of government guidelines, banks and building societies are included in the list of public places where you must wear a face mask.

There are scenarios where you may be allowed to take off your covering, for example, if bank staff need to see your face for identification purposes.

Customers are also being asked to only visit branches if necessary and if they can’t get help online or over the phone.

HSBC – which also owns First Direct and Marks & Spencer Bank – issued the update to customers yesterday, January 12, amid rising cases of coronavirus.

It told HOAR that it hasn’t yet had to close down any accounts due to face mask rules.

We’re checking if the face mask warning applies to M&S Bank customers too and we’ll update this article when we know more. First Direct is an online-only bank.

The tougher rules come as the UK suffered its second deadliest day so far in the pandemic yesterday, with 1,243 fatalities reported.

The total number of coronavirus infections is now 3,164,051 after 45,533 more tested positive.

We’re checking with the other major UK banks – including NatWest Group, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and TSB – if they’re taking similar action for people who refuse to wear face masks.

Barclays told HOAR it won’t threaten to close the account of those who don’t wear face masks unless they become aggressive when approached by staff.

Jackie Uhi, head of branch network, HSBC UK said: “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.”

Are banks open during lockdown? Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and Halifax opening times and advice.

Supermarkets are open and they have certain rules you need to follow in store when visiting – and there may be some limits on items too.

Pubs, bars and restaurants are closed but they can offer takeaway and delivery services, although takeaway pints are banned.

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