SOUTHAMPTON residents have been urged to follow government guidance as face coverings return.

From today, face coverings in England are mandatory again inside and on public transport.

This does not apply to hospitality settings.

It comes as concerns grow over the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 with worries raised over its ability to cause reinfection.

As well as face coverings, stricter rules have been brought in on self-isolation and travel isolation to try and limit the spread of the new variant, and now Southampton residents have been urged to follow guidance.

Director of Public Health at Southampton City Council, Dr Debbie Chase confirmed that the council is not aware of any cases of the Omicron variant in the city, but despite this, urged those living in and visiting the city to be cautious.

“While there is no cause for alarm, we are right to be cautious and the emergence of this variant is a reminder for us all that the pandemic is not over and that everyone has a role to play in helping to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe.

“Now more than ever, it is important that we all continue to do what we can to limit the spread of the virus by continuing to test in line with national guidance, having our vaccinations and booster shots when eligible, wearing masks in crowded places and in shops and on public transport in line with the new government guidance, and self-isolating when required to do so.”

In an effort to defend against the new variant, it has also been announced that all adults will be offered a booster vaccine.

Travel firms in Southampton are now set to enforce the new rules on their services with Leanna Lakes, Operations Director at Red Funnel, saying: “The safety of our teams and passengers is our number one priority and we will continue to be led by government recommendations to ensure we are able to provide essential travel services in the safest possible environment.

“In line with the latest government guidance, unless exempt, face coverings will become mandatory for customers and team members on board and within our terminals from 30th November 2021.

“Customers will be able to remove face coverings to eat and drink.”

WestQuay said on their website also: “In line with the latest guidance from the Government, face coverings are compulsory throughout the centre, including in all our stores, unless you have a legitimate reason not to wear one such as a disability.”

New covid rules announced 

  • Day two PCR tests for all international travellers
  • Close contacts of positive suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccinations
  • Mandatory mask wearing in shops and indoor settings
  • Increasing the booster jab roll out