Cumbria County Council Director of Public Health Colin Cox has today backed the Government's decision to make face coverings mandatory in shops.

Wearing face coverings in shops and supermarkets is set to become mandatory from July 24.

In an interview with BBC Radio Cumbria he said: "I think this is probably a sensible step at this point. The evidence on the face coverings has been growing, it's still growing.

He added that the NHS are still hard at work to fight the spread of coronavirus.

"Anything we can have, any sort of tool in the tool box to support that is probably helpful."

Mr Cox addressed the argument that face coverings are not being worn in pubs. He said: "The difference I suppose is the degree of choice that people have you don't need to go to a pub or stay in a pub all day and you do have to go to shops now and again.

"It's something that there are concerns about what I don't want to see is people wearing face masks and therefore thinking that everything's absolutely fine. The physical distancing is still important more so than the face masks."

He added that the reason face coverings will be mandatory in shops rather than other establishments is because it is sometimes harder to maintain social distancing in shops.

Mr Cox said: "We are on the last track in trying to defeat the virus but there's still quite a bit of way to go and everything we can do to support the stopping of spread is very important."

He added that face coverings will be a useful tool to help prevent a second wave, making not of a rise in cases in Carlisle.

"We know that we've got a slightly rising rate of infections in Carlisle at the moment.

"It's going to be really important for us to enlist everybody's support in maintaining the physical distancing and taking all the hygiene precautions that we're advising in order to bring that number back down because we don't want to see a second wave of this hitting us come Autumn or Winter."