Halton Borough Council is urging everyone who must leave home to do essential shopping to reduce their risk of catching Coronavirus by taking a number of simple precautions that will keep them, and others, safe.

Everyone is currently being asked to stay at home as cases of Coronavirus continue to increase rapidly in Halton and across the country.

One of the reasons people are permitted to leave home is to shop for essential items, including food.

These trips should be kept to a minimum and people are asked to shop in the local area if possible.

When in a shop or supermarket face coverings must be worn, unless a person is medically exempt – this is the law and non-compliance could result in a fine being issued.  Face coverings should cover both your nose and mouth at all times – a face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth.

In addition, other measures can be taken to protect against infection including:

  • Shopping alone where possible, if there is a need to shop with someone else, they must be from the same household or support bubble – shopping is not an opportunity to socialise
  • Maintaining social distancing in-store and outdoors if there is a queue to enter; follow any one way systems that have been put in place
  • Using the hand sanitiser and other facilities provided to disinfect shopping trollies and baskets; avoid touching items that are not being purchased

Halton’s Director of Public Health, Eileen O’Meara, is stressing how serious the current situation is and why everyone now needs to take responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe. She says: “The new, more infectious, strain of Coronavirus is contributing to rapidly increasing infection rates in Halton. So now, more than ever, we all need to do whatever it takes to stay safe and that includes always remembering hands, face and space when we leave home to shop for essentials.

“I would ask everyone to pay attention to the signs and measures shops have put in place and to please be patient and respectful towards staff who are working to keep customers safe.”

Under the current national lockdown restrictions businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. This includes retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants/suppliers of building products, and off-licences. Market stalls selling essential goods can also stay open. For the full list of businesses allowed to open, visit www.gov.uk

There are some places where you must wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse. These places include shops and supermarkets, shopping centres, malls and indoor markets, post offices, banks and building societies. A full list can be found at www.gov.uk

People who are exempt from wearing a face covering may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card or badge, or even a home-made sign. Examples of exemption card templates can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own