Plan B Covid restrictions in Sandwell: council advises locals to continue to wear face masks as measures end

Plan B measures are set to come to an end this Thursday

The government’s Plan B measures are set to come to and end this week.

From Thursday, January 27, people will not legally have to wear a face masks in any setting, and Covid passes will be scrapped for large events and nightlife venues.

Although the legal requirement to wear face masks will end, Sandwell Council is urging residents, visitors and students to continue to wear them in enclosed or crowded spaces.

In Sandwell, although there has been a reduction in Covid infection rates over the last week - but council public health leaders have highlighted that 1 in 15 people still have the virus.

The council said local hospitals are continuing to ‘see people with Covid-19 admitted daily’.

West Bromwich town centre (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
West Bromwich town centre (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
West Bromwich town centre (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

What have council leaders said?

A statement from Sandwell Council, read: “Although legal requirements are set to go, we can still reduce the risk of Covid-19 to ourselves and those around us.

“While face coverings will no longer be mandated, we would encourage people to continue to wear them in enclosed or crowded spaces. Testing regularly is also still important and if you feel unwell, please stay at home and book a PCR test as soon as you can.”

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell Council’s director of public health, said: “The virus doesn’t care about Plan B. With the latest data suggesting that 1 in 15 people have Covid-19 in our region, protecting ourselves and those we love is still crucial.

“We can all reduce our risk by continuing to wear face coverings in busy indoor areas and, of course, making sure we’re fully vaccinated.”

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, cabinet member for adults, social care and health, said: “While the measures put in place under Plan B are set to be lifted, I encourage the people of Sandwell to continue to follow safer behaviours to protect themselves and others.

“These include: letting fresh air in if you meet indoors – meeting outdoors is safer; get tested and self-isolate if required; get vaccinated and get your booster dose; and please continue to wear face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces.”

What is the government’s Plan A?

The relaxing of Plan B rules means that the government will be moving back towards Plan A, which had been in place in England prior to the strengthening of the rules in early December.

In Plan A, the focus is on the booster and vaccine roll out as the first line of defence against Covid-19, as well as advice and guidance as opposed to mandatory rules.

Children aged between 12 and 15-years-old will continue to be offered the vaccine, as well as those who are not already jabbed, and everyone will be encouraged to get a flu jab.

Free PCR tests will continue and lateral flow test will still be made freely available.

Advice from the UK Government will encourage proper ventilation indoors when meeting with others, and encouraging the use of face coverings in crowded places.

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