With more retailers now open following the end of the national Covid-19 lockdown, 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.

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 staff working in areas that are open to the public. 

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.

"Non essential retailers have been allowed to reopen under the Covid-19 Tier 3 measures which Wolverhampton is now subject to, and it’s incredibly important that everybody plays 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 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 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."

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 figures show there were 227.85 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 4 December. That means 599 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

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. For full details of the Tier 3 restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, please visit COVID Alert.