Patients in South Tyneside and Sunderland are being asked to continue following Covid-19 prevention rules whenever they are in a primary care setting, such as their GP practice, as Covid-19 infection rates remain high across the region.
National rules around face-coverings in public spaces were relaxed on January 27 but local health leaders are reminding patients that these measures are still important in helping control the spread of Covid-19.
Anyone entering a GP practice or primary care building will still be asked to sanitise their hands, keep a good social distance and wear a face-covering at all times.
This guidance will also apply to hospitals, pharmacies, and dental practices.
Health bosses say these measures were put in place throughout the pandemic to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and protect vulnerable patients who are at higher risk of serious illness.
Dr Neil O'Brien, a local GP and Chief Clinical Officer and Accountable Officer for NHS South Tyneside and Sunderland clinical commissioning groups, said:
"Although national restrictions have eased, Covid-19 is still a major issue and is on the rise within our local communities.
"By keeping these measures in place, we will have a much better chance of continuing to see and treat our patients."
"Vaccination is the best form of protection against Covid-19. If you haven't had your vaccine yet, it's not too late to take up the offer."