Everything you need to Know about Wearing a Face Covering

By Emily Cook
As of 24th July 2020, it is compulsory to wear facemasks or coverings in public spaces in England...

 It is mandatory to wear face masks or coverings in spaces such as supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and takeaways. 

For those who do not adhere to the rules, police can now hand out £100 however, some retailers have said that they themselves will not enforce the rule. 

Why wearing a mask is effective

Experts have already stated that wearing a face mask can prevent the spread of COVID-19. An experiment by the New England Journal of Medicine states that hundreds of droplets, ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers are formed when saying a basic phrase. The test was to prove that a covering over the mouth is an effective way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, like we have seen with previous epidemics such as SARS, H1N1 and MERS.  

Material of face covering

There has been a shortage in surgical masks to the general public as there has been an attempt to keep these for the medical professionals working in high-risk environments. Therefore many people have been getting crafty and creating their own face masks.

How effective are homemade face coverings, and are they suitable to wear in public? The answer is, yes. They are effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus via particles in the air and provide protection to the wearer and those around them. 

In Oxford’s latest report featuring Professor Mills states that “The general public does not need to wear surgical masks or respirators. We find that masks made from high quality material such as high-grade cotton, multiple layers and particularly hybrid constructions are effective”.

She also explains that it is important that people are aware of virus transmission and how masks not only protect themselves but others too. There is also a level of trust here and multiple socio-behavioural factors coming into play. It is important to understand that anyone can catch this virus and that it is a horrible disease - you should wear a mask to protect yourself as much as it protects others. 

Rules for wearing a face covering:

It is essential that now face coverings are required to wear, they must be worn suitably and properly. This involves:

  • Wearing a tight fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth 
  • Not touching or readjusting the mask with your hands
  • Not taking it off to speak
  • Not sharing a mask
  • Touching other people's masks
  • Do wash your hands before and after wearing a mask
  • You can wear reusable face masks as long as they are disinfected in soap and hot water at least once a day
  • Still continue to practise social distancing 

Overall, stay updated and aware of current rules rolled out by the government. Ensure you are still practising social distancing and that you are now wearing a face covering when necessary and if you can. Be mindful of others and consider your actions when going outside. 

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