SHOPS across East Lancashire have introduce new measures to ensure shoppers are following new government guidance on social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In Blackburn, the town centre Morrisons has placed new floor stickers for customers waiting in queues, ensuring that they stand at least two metres apart from each other.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “We want to do our bit to help customers and colleagues from being affected and to help everyone observe social distancing at our checkouts.

“This will help us to continue to play our full part in feeding the nation - it’s more than our job.”

Sainsbury’s is encouraging customers to stand one metre apart, while Aldi staff have been serving customers from behind clear screens since yesterday to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Mall in Blackburn has seen a string of temporary closures in response to the virus outbreak, with brands in the now largely empty shopping centre such as Topshop and Primark shutting their doors.

The new measures came into force as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus dramatically increased over the weekend.

On importance of social distancing Jawad Husain, executive medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), said: “We cannot stress strongly enough the need to follow the advice you have been given by Public Health England.

“Frequently wash your hands with soap, stay home wherever and whenever possible and observe social distancing and stay two metres apart from other people.

“We recognise that these are really difficult times for everyone and we’ve implemented measures to support the health and wellbeing of our staff.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to local people and businesses who have shown their appreciation for our staff and services.

“We’d also like to pay tribute to all our staff, who are doing a simply amazing job. But the best thing you can do is stay home, save lives.”