People are being reminded they must by law wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets from this Friday (24 July) to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Face coverings are only currently mandatory on public transport, or if attending hospital either as a visitor or outpatient, but the Government has announced they will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from Friday. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

The City of Wolverhampton Council has created free printable posters for businesses to help inform customers, which can be found in the downloads section at Reopening Wolves.

The council has also produced a handy, step by step guide to show people how they can make their own face covering out of an old T-shirt. 

Measures can be taken if people do not comply with the new regulations. Transport operators can deny service or direct someone to wear a face covering. Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law and can refuse entry. In all cases, if necessary, the police have the powers to enforce these measures, including through issuing a fine of £100, or £50 if paid within 14 days.

People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where they might come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We need to do all we can to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and avoid a local lockdown.

“Face coverings do not replace social distancing, good hand washing and good hygiene as the most effective measures we should all adopt in our fight against Covid-19.

"However, there is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space can help protect individuals and those around them from the virus.

"You can buy face coverings from many retailers or make your own at home. They can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head, as long as they cover your mouth and nose and allow you to breathe comfortably.”

Residents are reminded they must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Everyone must: 

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2m, or 1m plus if 2m is not possible)
  • wash your hands regularly
  • wear a face covering on public transport, in enclosed places where social distancing is not possible and, from this Friday 24 July, in shops 
  • stay at home and self isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus  

People are 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.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of the nose and the back of the throat, using a long cotton bud. Anyone in Wolverhampton who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about people that have been close contacts recently. 

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 at Coronavirus (COVID-19).   

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.