People shopping on Manchester Road have been urged to wear masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The SN1 area of Swindon, which includes Manchester Road, has been identified as the place with the highest infection rate for coronavirus in the south west.

Despite this borough councillor Bob Wright believes people are still not wearing masks and socially distancing.

He said: “It is known in the area that it’s the highest concentration in the south west, and you don’t know who’s got it.

“And as a consequence, for everyone’s safety, we want masks to be worn and social distancing to be kept.

“I’ve had complaints from shoppers saying people are coming in not wearing masks and not caring about fellow shoppers wearing masks.”

He told the Adver: “I’ve also been doing daily observances of the area last week where I’ve counted 12 - 15 people and of those only three were wearing masks."

But he did notice signs of improvement. “Last Friday I saw a substantial turn-around where only one person wasn’t wearing a mask. So there’s been a definite improvement.

“No one is immune so we’re relying on people in society to help each other,” he said.

“On Manchester Road, many of those shops are there because it’s a low cost space and they rely on high foot traffic from people. If there’s any place in Swindon, where masks should be worn it’s that area.”

One shop manager added his criticisms to customers coming in to his store without a facial covering.

Al-Kalim Hakimi, who operates the 9 O’Clock Shop Express store at the County Road end of the street, said: “For myself I’m okay so I’m using a shield and other workers are wearing masks.

“But other people, they don’t care. And if they don’t care then what can we do? We can’t force them.

“We tell them, when we some them coming in, ‘why don’t you use a mask?’ and they’ve always got a reason.”

Mr Hakimi doesn’t wear a mask himself because it fogs up his glasses, but he does wear a face shield instead.

He added: “They can use them too. It’s easy. We’re in the same boat as other shops, we can’t refuse service because we’ll lose money. Customers don’t care, they should care about others. If I don’t care about myself, I at least should care about the rest of the community.”

Manuel Salih, manager of Sulaymaniyah Market gives shoppers a mask if they turn up without one.