SHOPPERS in Solihull will receive free face masks after the borough won a share of EU funds to support high streets.
The borough’s Business Improvement District and the council are providing masks and hand sanitiser points in Solihull town centre.
In May, the Government announced £50 million of funding from the European Union to reopen high streets following the coronavirus lockdown, with £192,000 for Solihull.
Face masks are now compulsory in shops in England, leading to the BID giving them to shoppers in Mell Square.
Melanie Palmer, Chief Executive of Solihull BID, said: “We are delighted to have secured the funding from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund to provide hand sanitisers and face masks for our visitors to Solihull.
“The BID are committed to working closely with our partners to keep the town centre safe, clean and welcoming, providing a relaxing haven for all to enjoy.”
The BID has already implemented various measures across the town centre to ensure visitors enjoy a stress-free trip. These include social distancing floor stickers to help with shop queues as well as benches on the High Street, in Mell Square and Theatre Square, Touchwood, to allow people to take a break or wait for family members who are shopping.
The business group says its steps have led to a steady rise in visitor numbers to the town centre.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “As part of the warm welcome back Solihull BID are extending shoppers and visitors alike, they are handing out hand sanitisers and face masks from Saturday August 1.
“We all recognise we need to make the return to shopping and eating out safe and hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways of controlling the virus.
“Using our European Regional Development Fund money we have been able to provide the BID with a supply of hand sanitisers and face masks and will be looking to extend this offer to other centres in the borough over the coming weeks. As our recovery gathers pace we cannot be complacent, we need to continue social distancing, wear face coverings in shops and wash our hands frequently.”