New rules on Face Masks in Pharmacies
This week marked the complete lifting of legal lockdown restrictions in England. It is now no longer mandatory for people to wear face masks or follow social distancing guidelines in public spaces.
However, as the pandemic is still an ongoing threat, face masks will still be mandatory in pharmacies.
Despite the changing rules, the government recommends that people use their best judgment and continue to wear face coverings “in crowded and enclosed spaces.”
Unfortunately, many people have refused to follow lockdown restrictions due to their inconsistent nature. The reopening of pubs and restaurants led to an abundance of people meeting without masks indoors, and failing to socially distance.
Ruth May, NHS England and NHS Improvement chief nursing officer, stated: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings.” This includes our pharmacies and its associated Walk-in clinics, where staff, patients and visitors must follow the existing rules.
Over the past year, the easing of restrictions has consistently led to an immediate increase in Covid-19 cases. This has become a regular pattern and has always led to an inevitable reinstatement of lockdown restrictions. It is therefore likely to happen again in the coming weeks.
The decision to remove lockdown restrictions was initially planned for June but was delayed due to the increasing rate of Covid cases. This increase is continuing, yet restrictions are being lifted nonetheless.
While the vaccination programme has solidly progressed, 30% of people in the UK have yet to receive their second jab, and almost half (46%) are completely unvaccinated. This is a significant portion of the population that will be vulnerable to the sudden rise in Covid prevalence caused by another premature ending to lockdown.
Long Covid and a new wave
While vaccines are proven to be effective, there are long-term effects that may persist after you recover.
This “long Covid” has been reported in over 1 million people in the UK since the pandemic began, and it may continue to affect them for the rest of their lives. Common symptoms of long Covid are as follows:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- shortness of breath
- chest pain or tightness
- problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- heart palpitations
- pins and needles
- joint pain
- depression and anxiety
- tinnitus, earaches
- feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
Getting vaccinated, sticking to social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering in public remains the best way to protect yourself and others during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is tempting to embrace a return to normalcy, but it is vital we prioritise our health above all else.
If you want to book an appointment with an Imaan pharmacy, please visit our locations page to find your local community pharmacy. Remember to wear a face covering when visiting us!