A HOSPITAL trust has issued important advice on face coverings as restrictions change across the country.

As of Monday, face masks and coverings are no longer legally mandatory in public spaces in England, including public transport and supermarkets.

But Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which covers Broomfield Hospital, stressed that staff and public must continue to wear masks to help keep everyone safe.

The trust said in a statement: “The wearing of face coverings and visitor restrictions will remain unchanged at hospital sites across Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

“Staff and public attending Basildon, Broomfield and Southend hospitals and satellite sites, must continue to wear face coverings, follow social distance rules and use hand gel.

“The maintaining of these rules is for the safety of patients and staff, as well as safely allowing the most vulnerable people to continue to attend hospital.

“This is in line with hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and other healthcare settings across the country.

“Visitor restrictions will continue across the Trust, with each patient allowed one visitor during the times of 2-3pm and 6-7pm. Where patients are receiving end of life care, two visitors can be with them at any time.

“Other patient groups may have other restrictions.”

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The trust also covers Basildon and Southend Hospitals.

A number of GP surgeries across mid Essex have also issued similar advice.

Mount Chambers Surgery and Church Lane Surgery, both in Braintree confirmed that the changes do not apply to patients and they must continue to wear a face covering, unless they are exempt.

Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery in Halstead also said in a statement: “We will still require you to wear a face mask when attending the surgery unless you are exempt.

“This is to protect our staff and patients.

“The number of Covid cases are rising, not decreasing and we cannot risk our staff contracting Covid and potentially having to close the surgery.”

In Maldon, Longfield Medical Centre also confirmed they were keeping the rules as did Blackwater Medical Centre who will also be keeping a locked door policy to control social distancing.