SEATING has been reintroduced and barriers have been removed in The Cornbow shopping centre in Halesowen as remaining lockdown restrictions are lifted across England.

Cornbow Centre manager Eve O'Connor said although shoppers are no longer required to wear a face masks when visiting the centre, from today (Monday July 19), many people are still choosing to.

She said many shoppers are also still sticking to the one-way system, although it is no longer being enforced as the "new normal" begins.

Eve said: "We have taken down the barriers and reintroduced some seating, not all, as it's slow steady steps at the moment.

"We are leaving the one-way floor vinyls in place and leaving it up to people whether they want to follow them, which on the whole they are.

"I think people have got used to the system over the last 18 months.

"We are recommending people continue to wear face masks in confined spaces like lifts and toilets."

Eve said the lifting of final restrictions has been "welcomed by some hospitality traders, who have reinstated seating, whereas others are still maintaining social distancing to keep staff and customers safe.

She added: "We are following all the government's advice and are cautiously welcoming the easing."

From today, which has been dubbed 'freedom day' there are no limits on how many people can meet, the 1m-plus social distancing guidance has been removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering), and face coverings are no longer required by law, although the government still "expects and recommends" them in crowded and enclosed spaces.

Nightclubs can reopen, pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only, there's no limits on guests at weddings and funerals, no limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events and no restrictions on communal worship.