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Covid 19 (Coronavirus) - Information for Shine Members: July 2020

31st July 2020


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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)


31st July 2020

Due to increasing coronavirus cases in some regions of the UK, local restrictions have now been imposed by the government. The areas affected are:

  • All of Greater Manchester: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan 
  • East Lancashire: Pendle, Hyndburn, Burnley, Rossendale and Blackburn with Darwen 
  • West Yorkshire: Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees 

For the four million residents of these areas, different rules now apply: 

  • People from different households must not meet in homes or private gardens. Support bubbles count as the same household so can meet. 
  • People from different households must not mix in pubs or restaurants. Individual households can attend these venues, however, should do so with caution, observing strict hygiene and social distancing measures. The more people come together the easier coronavirus spreads, minimising contact reduces the risk, the safest option is no contact.  

Restrictions in Leicester, which saw the UK's first local lockdown, will start to ease from Monday 3rd August. Restaurants, cafes, bars, hairdressers, cinemas and museums will be allowed to open and religious ceremonies can take place. For the time being gyms, leisure centres and pools will have to stay closed. 

For more information, see the government guidance


23rd July 2020

Spotlight on masks 

From midnight today (23rd July) masks must be worn in shops as well as on public transport in England.  Face masks must be worn on public transport in Northern Ireland now and in Wales from 27th of July. This is the law, but scientists recommend wearing them in any busy public places, especially indoors and in situations where social distancing is not possible or predictable.   

Why it’s important to wear a mask  

Evidence is mounting that wearing face masks can help prevent spreading and catching coronavirus. Masks (also referred to as face coverings) provide a barrier to the tiny infectious droplets released from the mouth and nose of someone who has coronavirus. This is particularly important because people are most infectious in the three days before they develop coronavirus symptoms and some people can spread the virus without ever getting symptoms. You can be infectious and not know it.  

How to properly wear a mask  

To put on your mask: wash your hands thoroughly first with soap and water. Make sure your mask covers your nose and mouth, and make sure there aren’t any gaps between the mask and your face.   

While you’re wearing the mask: avoid touching it (and, if you do, wash your hands first). Replace the mask if/when it gets damp.   
Avoid removing your mask where possible, but if you do need to take your mask off briefly (e.g. to drink) then remove it completely. Do not push the mask down to your chin then back over your face as this will contaminate the inside of the mask.   

To take off your mask: remove it by touching only the straps/ear tags, avoid touching the front. If the mask is disposable, throw it away immediately into a closed bin. If the mask is reusable, put it straight into the washing machine.  

It’s important to combine wearing masks with good hygiene and social distancing measures. This means regularly washing your hands with soap and water, or sanitizer if you’re out and about, and keeping 2m away from people not in your household.   

When should I wear a mask?  

It will be compulsory to wear facemasks in all shops from 24th of July in England, they are already compulsory on public transport. Face masks must be worn on public transport in Northern Ireland and people will be required to wear face masks on public transport in Wales from 27th of July. The guidelines may be updated in future so keep an eye out for announcements in the news and on the public health websites for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

Even though they are only legally required in these settings, scientists recommend wearing masks in any busy public places, especially indoors and in situations where social distancing is difficult or not predictable.   

Does everyone have to wear a mask?  

Fines of up to £100 can be issued to those who do not comply with the compulsory mask rules. Some people are exempt from the legal requirement to wear a mask, though still can if they choose. You can be considered exempt if you have "physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability" and wearing a mask would cause "severe distress”.  

 Examples of when this might apply would be:  

  • If your condition prevents you from being able to put the mask on   
  • If wearing one causes you to suffer from physical or emotional difficulties (e.g. serious difficulty breathing)  
  • If you need to eat, drink or take medicine  
  • If you're with someone who needs to lip read   

If you cannot wear a mask and are uncomfortable with potentially being challenged about not wearing a mask in settings where it is compulsory, this card from Hidden Disabilities may be useful to you.  

It’s up to each of us to balance the difficulties associated with wearing a mask versus the protective benefit they offer. To help protect yourself and others wear a mask if you can, but if you cannot do so, you will still benefit from the protection of others wearing them.  

Which masks offer the most protection?  

Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against coronavirus, followed by disposable surgical grade masks. However, disposable masks are expensive, there are limited supplies, they’re bad for the environment, and they can become uncomfortable with long wear times. Ideally surgical masks should be saved for health workers or those at highest risk. Well-designed cloth masks can offer good protection against virus spreading. Make sure the cloth mask you make or buy covers your nose, mouth and chin and fits snugly against your face, adjustable ear straps and nose clips are features that can help you to get a good fit. The most protective fabrics to look for in a mask are tightly woven (hard to see through when held up to the light) e.g. quilting cotton, twill, or natural silk. Having two or more layers of fabric increases the protective effect and good designs will have space between the layers or a pocket where you can insert a sheet of kitchen roll to act as a disposable filter. The BBC have an excellent guide to mask making.  

A study from Oxford University concluded the following about masks: "Cloth face coverings, even homemade masks made of the correct material, are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 - for the wearer and those around them" and warned "face masks and coverings work - act now".  

For more information about masks see the following online resources:  

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