With face coverings mandatory in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs from today (Friday 24 July, 2020), the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing is urging everyone to do their bit to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal said: "The public has done an absolutely fantastic job over last few months, taking extraordinary measures to keep themselves and others safe and to protect the NHS, and we all still have a crucial role to play.

"It’s important that people are able to get out and about once more, but we need to do so in a controlled way which keeps everyone safe.

"The last thing we want is for people to have to go back into social isolation as part of a local lockdown as has been the case elsewhere in the country – and especially as we approach autumn and winter when people would arguably find a lockdown even more difficult.

"Thanks to the efforts of everyone over the last few months, a return to something approaching normality is in our hands, and it's down to us all to control the virus together.

"We all need to do a few simple things, and they are to keep socially distanced when we're out and about or meeting people who are not part of our own household bubbles; wash our hands more often and for longer; and get tested if we have symptoms of coronavirus.

“As well as when we are on public transport and at the hospital, it is now also a requirement for everyone to wear face coverings in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, takeaways and any other indoors environment where there are other people that we do not normally come into contact with.

“While it may not feel normal wearing a face covering, by doing so you will be helping us all get back to normality in the long term. Remember, we are all in this together.”

Under the new regulations, members of the public need to wear face coverings – for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandana – that cover the nose and mouth in additional enclosed public spaces. These include in hospitals, shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, on public transport and in transport hubs.

It is also now compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops, though customers can remove their face coverings to eat and drink in premises where they are able to sit down on-site. 

Face coverings are not mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 and those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.

There is evidence to suggest that, used correctly, face coverings may reduce the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic.

Everyone is reminded they should book a test if they show symptoms of Covid-19, such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. For more information, and to apply for a test, please go to GOV.UK  or call 119. All appointments must be booked in advance.

People can also use the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust's Ask A&E tool to input and monitor their symptoms and speak to a healthcare professional via video chat if required.

Anyone in Wolverhampton who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to isolate and share information about people that have been close contacts recently.

Councillor Jaspal added: "The Test and Trace system is crucial to helping us control the virus, by finding out who has it and who they may have been contact with. 

“So please make sure you answer your phone if you are contacted by one of the Test and Trace team. It will probably show up as an unfamiliar number, but it’s really important you answer as you will need to self-isolate and provide details of anyone you have been in contact with; that way we will be better placed to nip any potential outbreaks in the bud and to avoid a local lockdown – and that’s in everyone’s best interests.”

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.