Heathrow Border Force are 'cavorting around terminals without masks'

Heathrow Border Force staff are ‘cavorting around terminal buildings without masks as if they are invincible’

  • Travellers and airport and airline staff are required to wear masks at all times
  • Sources say Heathrow Border Force staff are walking around terminals maskless
  • Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye is said to be ‘outraged’ at Border Force

Heathrow bosses are furious with Border Force staff for putting holidaymakers in danger by flouting rules requiring everyone at Britain’s biggest airport to wear masks.

Although travellers and airport and airline staff are required to wear masks at all times, sources say Heathrow Border Force staff are walking around terminals and even searching passengers’ luggage without a mask on.

The situation has triggered a row between Heathrow’s executives and the Home Office, which runs Border Force.

Passengers are seen wearing masks at Heathrow. Masks have been compulsory in airport buildings for some weeks. Early in the crisis two Border Force staff at Heathrow were confirmed to have died from coronavirus

According to a senior aviation source, Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye is ‘outraged’ at Border Force for ignoring the rules. Other airports are said to have similar issues. 

The source said: ‘At Heathrow, Border Force staff are cavorting around the terminal buildings without masks as if they are invincible. Although they are checking passports behind a screen, they are not wearing their masks while carrying out other duties, including passenger and luggage searches.’ 

Masks have been compulsory in airport buildings for some weeks. Early in the crisis two Border Force staff at Heathrow were confirmed to have died from coronavirus.

Although the staff, who carry out immigration and customs controls, must wear full protective gear to interview anyone, they do not need to wear masks or gloves for day-to-day work according to Government guidance. 

The source said Heathrow has offered masks and gloves to Border Force staff but has yet to receive a response.

The agency said its policies are based on Public Health England guidance and advice.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We have installed protective screens at the border and are implementing social distancing measures, where possible. Where these cannot be put in place, Border Force officers are provided with the necessary personal protective equipment, including face masks.’

Although the staff, who carry out immigration and customs controls, must wear full protective gear to interview anyone, they do not need to wear masks or gloves for day-to-day work according to Government guidance

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