As part of Bristol City Council’s Are you Covered? Campaign, Bristol City Mayor, Marvin Rees, and Director of Public Health, Christina Gray, alongside Cabinet members and council staff will be handing out masks in The Galleries, Broadmead, Cabot Circus and the Bus Station on Friday, when mandatory face coverings in shops becomes law.
Masks have also been given to food banks across the city which have seen a surge in requests for support from low income families during the pandemic.
Bristolians are also being encouraged to post a selfie of themselves on the council's social media channels wearing a face covering with the hashtag #AreyouCovered? to be in with a chance to win £100 of shopping vouchers donated by the Broadmead Improvement District (BID).
As well as giving out masks, the new campaign will help people understand how to wear a face covering correctly, what they can use from home like scarves and bandannas instead of a face mask, and who is exempt from wearing a face covering.
Mayor Rees said: “I'm really pleased that shops and businesses are reopening however, Covid-19 is still very much with us. As we still have no cure or vaccine we must adapt to new safety measures. It’s important to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport so we continue to protect our community from the continued threat of Covid-19.
“Not everyone knows straight away that they have Covid-19, and some display few symptoms at all. Therefore the best thing we can do to make sure we don’t unknowingly pass on the infection, is to wear a mask, wash our hands regularly and act quickly to self-isolate and take a test if we think we are unwell.”
Christina Gray said: “While we have been fortunate in Bristol to have low numbers of Covid-19 it has still made many people in our communities very unwell, and some have sadly died. We must therefore continue our efforts to stop the spread of the infection, particularly as we prepare for the winter months.
“A local lockdown like we have seen in other areas of the country can be prevented but only if we continue to maintain Covid safe behaviours which include staying two metres away from people not from our household, washing hands regularly and staying home if we have Covid-19 symptoms. Covering your face in public provides additional protection to others. Booking a test is really important as is following the NHS Test and Trace guidance until you have the all clear.”
Steve Bluff, Broadmead BID manager, said: "Bristol Shopping Quarter is delighted to support this important campaign and we have also been busy over the past few days distributing the free masks to our shops, who will give them out to anyone who needs one.
"Several shops in Bristol Shopping Quarter are also selling good quality reusable face coverings, including some upcycled designs using vintage fabric, or the materials you need if you'd like to make your own.
"We're looking forward to seeing everyone's selfies and hope to spot some interesting designs!"
More information on face coverings here.