Health leaders in Wolverhampton have thanked city retailers for putting the safety and wellbeing of their staff and customers first by retaining measures designed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Although existing legal restrictions were lifted earlier this week, many businesses have decided to keep measures like social distancing and sanitising stations in place, and are continuing to encourage their staff and customers to wear face coverings if they are able to.

The majority of the public are supportive of the move, with a recent ONS survey finding that nearly two thirds of adults plan to keep wearing face coverings in shops and on public transport. Some 90% of people believe wearing a face covering when shopping is important to stop the spread of Covid, as is social distancing according to 88% of respondents.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Our message is clear: Covid's not over. Over 1,200 people in Wolverhampton tested positive last week, and we are imploring residents and businesses to be cautious, act carefully and use common sense to protect each other.

"It's great news that many retailers – from big supermarkets and national chains to smaller independents and close contact services like hairdressers – have taken a lead in this by retaining measures designed to keep them Covid-secure and by asking their staff and customers to wear face coverings if they can. Many public transport providers have done likewise.

“And it seems as though the majority of customers are happy to oblige, with the wearing of face coverings in stores and on public transport very much in evidence in Wolverhampton.

"We've all got used to following simple steps like Hands, Face, Space over the last 16 months and, while by law people don't now need to wear a face covering or practice social distancing in most instances, I would strongly advise everyone to carry on doing so in order to help stop the spread of this potentially deadly virus."

The Beacon Centre for the Blind, one of Wolverhampton’s Community Champions helping to encourage people across the city to get their Covid-19 vaccination, has retained a series of measures across its retail shops and at its centre on Wolverhampton Road East to ensure people can visit in a Covid-19 secure manner. 

Chief Executive Lisa Cowley said: “Throughout the pandemic we have taken a measured and cautious approach with a focus on protecting our members, staff and volunteers. 

“Our team are continuing to wear masks and have regular testing and we’re encouraging those visiting our sites to wear a face covering and keep their distance from others to help protect us all. 

“One of the most important things we can all do is get vaccinated and we’ve done all we can to encourage everyone in the Beacon family, and everyone else, to make sure they get their jab.”

As well as taking action to stop the spread of Covid-19, residents are reminded to make sure they get both doses of their life-saving vaccine as soon as possible, and to take a regular rapid Covid-19 test to reassure themselves and others that they don’t have the virus. Anyone with symptoms must still immediately self isolate and book a PCR test. 

Latest figures show there were 467.4 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 1,229 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.