A NORTH-EAST building society has pledged to continue prioritising the safety of members and staff and has asked everyone to respect each other’s choices to wear a mask.

Although face coverings and two-metre social distancing are no longer mandatory, Darlington Building Society has announced that staff will continue to wear masks, and screens will remain in place.

All meeting spaces will be cleaned in between appointments and the Society is urging its members to take care in respecting the wishes of others when visiting branches.

Flexible plans are also in place so that if members of staff have to isolate due to the test and trace system, there is the option to adjust opening hours to close earlier rather than shut down branches completely.

Chief Executive Andrew Craddock said: “Whilst maintaining an ‘open for business’ strategy in-branch and online throughout the pandemic, our top priority has always been the safety of our members and employees, and that will continue to be the case despite the lifting of restrictions by the Government.

“The response from our members and staff has been hugely supportive throughout the past 18 months and, with cases on the increase, we believe caution continues to be the best way forward at this time.

“If members wish to continue to take their own precautions, they are free to wear a mask when entering a branch and our staff will endeavour to help others to respect that personal choice.

“The situation obviously remains very uncertain across the country, and it is impossible to know what the future holds, so it is vital that we continue to support our staff and members through these ongoing protection measures that have served us so well throughout the pandemic.

Any changes will be announced on the Society’s social media channels and website.