Shoppers have been praised for wearing face coverings in town centre shops – with officials pleased that “the vast majority” of people are adhering to the new rules.

Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce, made up of Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury BID, said the feedback from the public and business owners had been positive, and it was vital that people continued to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

It became compulsory for people to wear face masks in shops on July 24, and people also now need to wear them when visiting museums, art galleries, cinemas and places of worship.

Kevin Lockwood, manager of Shrewsbury shopping centres and part of Shrewsbury Recovery Taskforce, said the reaction from shoppers had been excellent.

“We have seen a pretty much 100 per cent take-up of people wearing face masks in the shopping centres,” he said. “The reports we are getting from traders is that shoppers understand the reasons behind the rules and are happy to abide by them.

“It’s for everyone’s safety at the end of the day, and it’s been good to see a positive reaction.”

Footfall is continuing to increase in the town centre, and Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said the face covering rules had been well observed throughout the town.

“I know there were some concerns that wearing face masks would turn people away, but footfall is continuing to increase and we’ve recorded a five per cent increase for both of the last two weeks in the town centre” he said.

“Our members have reported that the vast majority of customers have been happy to wear face masks and people understand their importance.

“Lots of bars and restaurants are making the most of the extra outdoor space being provided by removing through traffic from High Street, and there is a really good atmosphere in the town.

“We would like to emphasise that Shrewsbury is safe, welcoming and very much open for people to come and support their local businesses.”

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said: “I appreciate this has been a big adjustment for some, but it is very encouraging to see that most people have already embraced wearing face coverings in shops.

“Face coverings are designed to keep other people safe against the spread of infection and I would urge residents to play their part when they are out shopping.

“While face coverings play an important role in protecting others, it is not designed to replace the other measures designed to stop the spread of the virus.

“That is why it is important to still follow the latest social distancing guidelines and practice good hand hygiene at all times.”