Together we’re better weekly update

The big news across the nation this week is that face coverings will be mandatory in supermarkets and shops from 24 July. This follows on from face coverings previously becoming mandatory on public transport and in NHS settings. Under the new rules, anyone not wearing a face mask in shops and supermarkets from 24 July onwards could face a £100 fine. It is important to note that children under the age of 11 and people with certain disabilities are exempt from this rule. Find more information, including when to wear a face covering and how to make your own, here.

Last week, we told you that nail bars, tattoo studios and beauty salons would be reopening this week, and that gyms, indoor swimming pools and sports facilities will be able to reopen at the end of the month. However, this new guidance is a stark reminder that, although normal activities are resuming for many people, coronavirus still poses a very real threat to each and every one of us. Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering will protect other people if you have coronavirus but are not aware and, in turn, other people wearing masks will protect you against the virus if they have it but are not showing symptoms.

There is, however, a lot of concern around the effect of single-use masks on the environment. That is why you will have seen lots of talk this week about reusable masks. If you don’t want to make your own face covering, you can buy lots of different ones online. Reusable coverings/masks are a great way to protect our health as well as the environment, as we won’t be putting as much plastic waste into our oceans.

There are lots of shops online selling face masks and face coverings. When purchasing one, it’s important to think about things such as whether it seems to fit the model’s face well, is it washable? It’s worth also thinking about whether it will arrive quickly (especially if you want it to arrive in time for the new guidelines coming into place on 24 July) and also whether it’s medical-grade – we don’t need to be using medical grade face masks and these should be left for our health and care professionals.

Regardless of whether you are making your own or purchasing a reusable face covering/mask, it’s really important that you wash them at 60 degrees after each use.
This will kill any bacteria that may have gotten onto them whilst you’ve been out and about.

Face coverings and masks are just one weapon in our armoury against coronavirus and should be used alongside social distancing and frequent handwashing (or sanitising where hand-washing facilities are not available).

NHS Test and Trace is another vital part of us being able to beat this virus. Please remember that if you are experiencing any symptoms; a new and continuous cough, high temperature OR loss or change to your usual sense of taste or smell, you must self-isolate immediately and book a test as soon as possible. You can do this via the national portal online here, or by calling 119.

Locally, there are Regional Testing Sites at the Bet365 Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent and at the Staffordshire Education and Enterprise Park, Beaconside. There are also multiple mobile testing units throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that you can choose from.

If instead you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service, having been identified as a contact for someone who now has coronavirus, you must self-isolate for 14 days immediately. This counts even if you are not experiencing symptoms yourself. By doing so, you will be protecting those around you, and by working together, we can defeat this virus and protect the people or Staffordshire and Stoke on-Trent.

Across the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent system the latest updates are:

  • Partners have agreed to downgrade the Major Incident across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that was declared to help co-ordinate the response to coronavirus. Partners would like to stress that this does not, however, mean that the pandemic nor the threat from the virus is over. Read more here.
  • All partners are continuing to amplify national messaging around social distancing, NHS Test and Trace, the use of face coverings and the important of handwashing.
  • Staffordshire Police have reported an increase in antisocial behaviour
  • Partners are encouraging people to enjoy themselves in a responsible way when going out to bar, restaurants, etc.

Useful resources available:

New materials are available for the following campaigns:

For the latest information on coronavirus, please visit the NHS and government websites.


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