People are being reminded that they must wear a face covering when they are out shopping.

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.

They include inside shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and indoor markets, as well as on public transport. 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.

For full details of when and where face coverings should be worn, and exemptions, please visit GOV.UK.  Face coverings must also be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas that are open to the public. Please note that Wolverhampton, along with the rest of England, is expected to be placed into lockdown from Thursday (5 November) which will mean that all non essential retail will be closed.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Retailers in Wolverhampton have worked really hard to ensure their shops have continued to be safe and welcoming places for 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.

"We all have a part to play in the fight against Covid-19 and it's incredibly important that we do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus.

"So if you are off to the shops, remember not only to take not only your bags and your money, but also your 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, and try to pay using contactless where you can, rather than cash, 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 in Wolverhampton 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."

Richard Scharenguivel, the manager of the Mander Centre, said: “Wearing a face mask when you are inside the Mander Centre and any of our stores is both polite to other shoppers and the right thing to do during this time.

“We want all our customers to feel safe and enjoy their Mander Centre experience and that means everybody complying with the rules to protect each other and ensure a stress free shopping and working environment for all of us.”

Evidence suggests that, while a face covering does not protect the wearer from Covid-19, it can protect others by covering the wearer's nose and mouth, which are the main sources of transmission of Covid-19. 

Latest data shows there were 263.55 cases per 100,000 residents in Wolverhampton in the 7 days to 30 October, compared to 249.06 cases per 100,000 the week before.

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 GOV.UK or call 119. People can get tested within 8 days of developing symptoms. 

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. For full details of the High Alert restrictions, and the answers to frequently asked questions, please visit COVID Alert