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Off to the shops? Don’t forget your face covering!

With more retailers now open following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions this week, people are being reminded that they must wear a face covering when they are off to the shops.

Face coverings that safely cover the mouth and nose are mandatory in a wide range of indoor settings in England to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, unless the individual is exempt from wearing one, for instance for medical reasons.

Settings include shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and indoor markets, premises providing personal care and beauty treatments such as hairdressers, and public transport. Face coverings must also be worn by staff working in areas that are open to the public.

People should put on their face covering before entering any of these settings and keep them on until they leave, unless there's a reasonable excuse for removing them.

Please note, these rules apply even if people have had both of their Covid-19 jabs. For full details of when and where face coverings should be worn, and exemptions, please visit https://bit.ly/34xSC7t.

A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering, but not instead. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles as face coverings do.

John Denley, Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health, said: "Retailers in Wolverhampton have worked really hard to ensure their shops have continued to be safe and welcoming places for their customers to visit during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The vast majority of shoppers have responded tremendously to the various measures which have been put in place, wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and following one-way systems where required.

"Non-essential retailers have been allowed to reopen under the relaxing of national restrictions, and it’s incredibly important that everybody continues to play their part in stopping the spread of the virus.

"So if you are off to the shops, remember to take not only your bags and your money, but also a face covering too. Respect your fellow shoppers and shop staff by wearing your face covering and keeping a safe distance from one another.

“Take a bottle of hand gel with you or use hand sanitisers or handwashing facilities where available, don’t touch things that you aren’t planning on buying and try to pay using contactless where you can as this reduces the possibility of transmitting the virus by handling coins or notes.

"It's important to remember that shopping centres such as the Mander Centre and Wulfrun Centre are classed as indoor spaces and so you'll need to keep your face covering on as you move from one shop to another, and also please don't forget that, if you are travelling to the shops by train, bus, Metro or in a taxi, you need to wear your face covering on public transport, too."

He added: “We know that a third of people with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms of the virus. While a face covering does not protect the wearer from Covid-19, all the evidence suggests it protects others by covering the wearer's nose and mouth, which are the main sources of transmission of Covid-19.”

Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or change to a person’s sense of taste and smell. To book a test, visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. For full details of restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.

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