Face coverings compulsory for shoppers from today

We want to thank the people of the West Midlands for their support during these unprecedented times.

We know it has been difficult, but the vast majority of people have followed the rules and helped each other; nobody can do this on their own, we must work together to get through this which is what we have been doing. Lockdown is easing but we are still at risk from COVID-19.

To reduce the risk of our numbers rising again and to prevent the spread of outbreaks, it is crucial that people understand the Dos and Don'ts and what any new guidance means to you, so this is a good time to remind everyone of a significant change that starts from today.

When going into shops and takeaways you must wear a face-covering. Ideally a mask, but you can use scarves and bandanas, as long as it covers your nose and mouth.

Wearing a face-covering protects people around you, just as their covering protects you and your loved ones.

This is in addition to wearing a face-covering on all public transport. Remember, although restrictions have lifted considerably since March, coronavirus has not gone away; it will be with us for some time yet so we all need to stay alert and follow government guidance. So, we’d encourage people to wear a face-covering as soon as you leave the house. It is not compulsory, but it is a way of getting used to wearing one and it really helps to protect people; even though you are outside, pavements can get busy and it can be hard to maintain proper distancing at times.

The more people seeing others wearing one, the more likely everyone is to wear one as a ‘new normal’. Social distancing remains in place, so please be careful as you walk around outside and speak to friends, family and neighbours. You can only meet one other household at any one time inside (a support bubble counts as one household).

Outside, while you can meet with up to six people from different households, social distancing is still required.

Keep to two metres whenever you can. Here in the West Midlands rates of infection are fairly stable in most areas but there have been significant outbreaks in parts of the region and teams are dealing with cases and smaller local outbreaks daily.

If we lose focus and think it is all over, we could end up taking backward steps in terms of restrictions; not only would this be extremely difficult for individuals and communities, it would cause huge problems for local businesses just as things are returning to some kind of normality. So let's work together to protect each other and our communities, follow the guidelines and the new rules on face-coverings, and enjoy the summer safely. Thank you to everyone for your continued support.

On behalf of West Midlands Metropolitan Council Leaders:

Councillor Mike Bird Walsall

Councillor Ian Brookfield Wolverhampton

Councillor Ian Courts Solihull

Councillor Maria Crompton Sandwell

Councillor George Duggins Coventry

Councillor Partrick Harley Dudley

Councillor Ian Ward Birmingham

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