People are being reminded that face coverings are now mandatory in many public places to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

By law, face coverings must be worn on public transport and in transport hubs, in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres, post offices, banks, building societies, solicitors and accountants, auction houses, hair and nail salons, barbers, massage centres, tattoo parlours, libraries, visitor attractions and entertainment venues.

Face coverings are required in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings like GP surgeries, and advisable in care homes.

They are also mandatory in places of worship, community centres, youth centres and social clubs, funeral homes and crematoria, exhibition halls and conference centres, public areas in hotels and hostels, storage and distribution facilities, in premises providing veterinary services and in other indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where people will come into contact with others they do not normally meet.

People are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and should keep it on until they leave, unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. 

Please note, 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 one.

Premises where face coverings are required should take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law. People can be fined £100 for non-compliance, halving to £50 if paid within 14 days, and the Government has announced it will bring forward changes which mean fines for repeat offenders will double for each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

Used correctly – safely and comfortably covering the mouth and nose – face coverings limit the number of droplets which are spread by people when they speak, cough or sneeze. It is important to avoid touching the front of the face covering while wearing it and to wash reusable coverings after each use, as it may have collected virus particles that could then be spread to the hands.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Face coverings do not replace social distancing and good hand washing and hygiene as the most effective ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus.

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

“This will help us to Avoid a Local Lockdown, so please remember to wear a face covering in places where they are mandatory unless of course you are exempt for any reason. 

"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.”

The council has produced a handy guide to making a face covering from an old T-shirt. Download it here. There's further information on the Government website.

Symptoms of Covid-19 include a fever, a new, continuous cough and loss or a change to a person’s sense of taste and smell. People with symptoms, no matter how mild, should immediately self-isolate and book a test by visiting NHS or calling 119. 

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will be asked 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.