North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC), and Freshney Place Shopping Centre have teamed up to increase awareness of Covid-19 prevention measures, such as the wearing of face coverings in shopping environments as the Autumn season approaches.
It’s great news that the public are once again allowed to get out and about again and do some of the things that were being missed – like going to town to shop or have something to eat. But COVID-19 is still around, it’s still a threat and it’s important that people aren’t thinking it’s back to life as usual.
North East Lincolnshire has so far, had one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in Britain, which in part has been down to the responsible approach taken by members of the public to the measures recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, the pandemic is not yet over and the winter months are expected to be particularly challenging as viruses such as COVID-19 spread much more easily in cold conditions and in indoor locations.
The wearing of face coverings or masks came into force on 24 July when the government announced it was mandatory to wear them when entering a shop, supermarket or shopping centre. As the retail sector approaches the autumn season and the busy festive period, experts in the region are encouraging the public to support the important safety measures which are in place to keep businesses open.
In a move to re enforce the important safety measures, NELC Covid Support Officers will be out and about on high streets and shopping areas, such as Freshney Place as they encourage the public to act responsibly, wear face coverings and respect the measures in place.
Members of the twelve-strong team completed their training in August and have been busy since, offering advice on COVID safety measures.
Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “It’s great to see our COVID Support Assistants out on the streets speaking to residents and local business owners.
“Lots of other Councils in the country have adopted a similar approach, offering a voice on the streets to encourage people to follow the advice around social distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing.
“It’s vital that we all stick to the guidance issued by the NHS and the Government to stop the spread of COVID-19. We have to work together to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”
Shopping centres around the county, such as Freshney Place, have adhered to government guidelines, incorporating a swathe of measures to protect the public from Covid 19 including one way systems, hand sanitising stations, public messaging and displays.
Amanda Austin said: “The majority of our shoppers are incredibly respectful of the rules and we thank them for their compliance. It is so important that as we approach the winter months and the ‘next normal’ that people are following the advice, particularly when it comes to wearing face coverings. There really is a duty upon everyone to play their part in halting the spread of coronavirus.
“It is important we work together to protect public health but also to ensure the viability of hundreds of jobs that the retail sector provides and which support our local community, we must try to avoid another lock down situation.”
Meanwhile, Director of Public Health for North East Lincolnshire, Stephen Pintus, added: “Wearing a face covering in enclosed public spaces like the shopping centre, unless we have a good reason not to, is part of a range of simple things we can all do to look after each other.
COVID is very easy to transmit, and not everyone is able to fight it. You might have picked up the virus without realising it and be feeling fine but please don’t make the people you come into contact with take that risk.”
Government released further advice this week: from Monday 14 September, you must not meet up in groups of more than 6 people in any setting.
If you start to feel unwell, have a high temperature, a new continuous cough or lose your sense of taste or smell, you should self-isolate immediately for at least 10 days. This means staying at home and limiting your contact with other people as much as possible.
Do not accept visitors and do not leave your home except to have a test. You should book a test for COVID-19 by dialling 119 or booking online. Anyone who lives with you or is in your support bubble must also self-isolate immediately for 14 days.