The social distancing coronavirus / Covid-19 sign board on Preston New Road in Crossens in Southport

People in Sefton are being asked by health chiefs to continue wearing face masks in public areas, even as the restrictions over their use end this Thursday (27th January). 

The Government is lifting its Plan B rules which were brought in last December due to fast rising Covid-19 cases, driven by the new more transmissible Omicron variant.

It means that mandatory Covid-19 certificates and face coverings are no longer required at indoor venues, with the Government saying they will be a matter of “personal judgement”. 

Despite this, health chiefs in Sefton, Merseyrail, and many businesses such as Sainsbury’s and Morrisons supermarkets will continue ask people to wear masks in their stores.

Trade unions such as Usdaw, which represents 360,000 retail workers, called on the public to wear face coverings despite the requirement to do so having ended.

The latest Covid-19 figures for Sefton, in the seven days to 21st January 2022, show a Covid-19 rate of 764.4 per 1001000. During those seven days, Sefton recorded 2,109 new Covid cases, a fall of 473 (18.3%). 

As of today the lifting of Plan B means:

  • mandatory Covid-19 certification will end, but venues may choose to use the NHS Covid Pass voluntarily

  • face coverings will not be required by law in indoor venues

  • local directors of public health are still able to recommend face coverings in communal areas only in education settings within their area, but only where the department and public health experts judge the measures to be proportionate – this is a temporary measure

  • infection prevention control guidance continues to require face coverings be worn in health and care settings, including primary care and pharmacies

  • it is suggested that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they might come into contact with people they do not normally meet

  • it is still a legal requirement for those with Covid-19 to self-isolate for 10 days with the option to end self-isolation after 5 full days following two negative LFD tests.

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: 

“While Covid case numbers are falling they remain high, and masks remain the best way to prevent the spread.

“People around us with a range of invisible conditions or circumstances that mean their immune systems are weakened are still vulnerable to the serious, and potentially fatal, effects of Covid-19.

“Mask wearing is about protecting other people and research has shown them to be the best, non-medical way to do that.

“If we continue wearing them on public transport and in crowded places, it reduces the serious risk that we will accidentally pass it on to someone for whom the consequences could be very serious.

“Maintaining the two-metre distancing also helps, as well as thorough handwashing.”

A Merseyrail spokesperson said: 

“From Thursday 27th January we encourage passengers to continue to wear face coverings whilst travelling on our network out of respect for others (unless exempt).”

Thursday’s changes mean that people in England will no longer be required to wear masks on public transport and in shops or use vaccine certificates. 

Although the Government has stopped asking people to work from home, Sefton Council is asking employees to continue working from home where they can. Risk assessments and safety measures are in place for those council employees who do need to be in the workplace.

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: 

“People across Sefton have made great efforts and sacrifices and I know that after the previous, so-called Freedom Day last July, many continued to wear masks to protect those around them including their loved ones and friends.

“I am sure they will want to do so again.

“However, I recognise all of us have our own reasons for wearing or not wearing masks and I would ask everyone to respect those decisions.”

Mrs Jones also encouraged anyone still not vaccinated to book a jab now to avoid a serious case of Covid that could result in a stay in hospital. Most people being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 have either not had their booster or have not had the full course of the vaccine.

She said:

“We are not fully vaccinated unless we have had two jabs and a booster, even if we have recently had Covid-19.

“Vaccination doesn’t mean we can’t catch the virus or be re-infected but if we do, we have stronger immunity and will be far less likely to be seriously ill.”

Everyone aged 12 and over can now book a vaccination by calling 119 or visiting the NHS website at

People can also find out more about local vaccination sites in Sefton by visiting:  or

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