From what face masks are best, to when to wear them, here’s everything YOU need to know about the latest face mask guidelines
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If you’re unsure about the latest face covering guidelines, you’ll find the answers here
It’s all change with the lockdown guidelines of late, and as we begin to ease back into some sense of normality, certain measures are being brought in to make sure we can do it safely while avoiding a second spike.
One of these changes is the introduction of face coverings, but understanding exactly when you should wear them and which ones are best for you may have gotten lost in all the recent updates, leaving many of us confused and even worried about what is the right thing to do.
Luckily, we’ve broken down everything you need to know to give you peace of mind.
What are the latest face covering rules?
If you are undertaking essential travel on public transport, you must wear a face covering
As of June 15, 2020, it is compulsory to wear a face covering when using public transport. This includes buses, trains, trams, taxis and ferries.
This was brought in because, as lockdown measures ease, more people are beginning to return to work and school, which increases the number of individuals using these public services. If using public transport is essential for you, wearing a face covering while you do so will protect those around you.
It’s not just public transport where face coverings are now required; you must wear one if you’re entering a hospital as a visitor or an outpatient, too. While not compulsory, it is also strongly recommended that you wear a face covering while you’re in an enclosed space with people who aren’t from your household when social distancing isn’t always possible. Examples of this could be supermarkets or high street shops.
However, there are exceptions to these new rules. People with disabilities, those who have breathing difficulties, children under 11 and anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading are exempt from these new guidelines and do not need to wear a face coverings.
You may also be given specific measures to follow by your employer when you return to your place of work, especially when working in a busy environment.
Why do I need to wear a face covering such as a mask?
As lockdown restrictions are lifted, you may feel more confident going into public spaces wearing a face covering
Covering your face is important because it can act as a barrier for infectious droplets.
When we sneeze, cough or talk, we spray the air with droplets which then fall on surfaces and people around us; in some cases they can even be inhaled by others.
If you cover your face and nose, you are preventing the majority of these droplets from being dispersed into the air and therefore reducing the likelihood of transmission, protecting yourself and others from becoming infected.
Even if you don’t think you have COVID-19, you could be asymptomatic, so following the new rules will protect those around you as you go about your business.
This is particularly crucial as we begin to return to normal life, and social distancing may not always be easy to achieve. Face coverings do not replace social distancing, but they do help make environments safer when keeping your distance from others isn’t possible.
What face coverings are best?
Whether it’s a homemade face covering or a face mask, choosing the right method for your needs can help protect you and those around you
Now that face coverings are compulsory in certain spaces, it’s important to find one that’s suitable for your needs.
One option is reusable face coverings, which are a cheap and safe solution for keeping you protected. The government has its own step-by-step guide for making your own face coverings, but many will prefer to buy one pre-made.
As well as minimising the risk of inhaling or involuntarily passing on droplets, these fabric coverings provide a barrier for hand to face contact, and can be machine washed after every use with your laundry, so they can be used again up to a maximum of 20 times. These are a more sustainable option compared to disposable masks, and are ideal if you’re only occasionally using public transport or popping to the supermarket.
However if you’re looking for a higher level of protection you should consider surgical face masks. LloydsPharmacy suggest the Type IIR face masks. These are commonly used by dental surgeries as they are ‘splash resistant’, and help to prevent airborne particles passing through to your mouth and nose. They filter out 98% of particles (3 microns in size), offering a greater level of filtration than a fabric face covering. If you’re returning to work or regularly finding yourself in an enclosed space with others, investing in a pack of these will be ideal.
How else can I protect myself and others?
Carry hand sanitiser with you so you can keep your hands clean even when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water
Staying safe as we return to normal life is mainly down to hygiene and social distancing.
Whatever you do and wherever you go, make sure you are regularly washing your hands with soapy water for 20 seconds, or if you’re on-the-go and running water isn’t available, an alcohol-based hand santiser is recommended. This will help prevent the spread of the virus and stop you involuntarily infecting yourself too. You should also regularly wash your clothes and wipe down your phone to reduce the risk of transmission.
When you’re using a face covering, take care with putting it on and removing it.
You should have clean hands to fit your face mask or covering, and when you’re securing it to your face, make sure it covers your nose and mouth without leaving any gaps.
Refrain from touching the front of your mask as it may have picked up droplets during your travels, and when you take it off, ensure you wash you hands once it has been disposed of or put in the washing machine. Disinfect anything it may have touched during this process and wash your hands again too.
Buy your face masks today
LloydsPharmacy offer a range of face coverings and face masks that meet relevant standards for medical or personal protection needs.
Visit LloydsPharmacy.com today to order your face masks and face coverings and have them delivered direct to your door.
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