As of today (24th July), wearing a face-covering in shops is compulsory in certain areas in England as part of public health policy to tackle COVID-19, so we may as well get comfortable dressing and styling our faces.
From how to wear them properly to finding a design you actually want to wear, here’s everything you need to know about face coverings.
They’re the most unlikely fashion accessory of the decade but here we ARE. It’s 2020 guys, who can predict what will happen next! At this point, if someone told us horses have grown wings, we’d believe them. If you’re yet to snap one up or you’re wondering where to shop for the cutest designs, you’re in luck. From how to wear them properly to finding a design you actually want to wear, here’s everything you need to know about face coverings.
Why should I wear a face mask?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread predominantly by droplets from coughing, sneezing and speaking. Whilst covering your nose and mouth cannot prevent you from catching COVID-19, it can help act as a barrier to reduce the transmission of the virus. When you wear one, you protect others, when they wear one, they protect you. It’s simple stuff, really.
When should I wear one?
Different regulations for face coverings apply depending on where you live, but in England you must wear one by law in the following settings:
Shops and supermarkets (from July 24, 2020)
What kind of face mask should I be wearing?
Medical face masks, also known as surgical masks, should be worn by health workers, people who have COVID-19 symptoms and those looking after someone who has suspected or confirmed coronavirus. Fabric masks / non-surgical face masks should be worn by those with no symptoms as a protective measure to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
What happens if I don’t wear one?
Though the liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual, measures can be taken if you refuse to comply with this law. A shop can refuse your entry and the police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a £100 fine (£50 if paid within the first 14 days). Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law.
Dos and Don’ts of wearing a fabric mask:
Wearing a mask alone cannot protect you from COVID-19, and you should continue to combine other protective measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. Here’s a list of the dos and don’ts:
Does everyone have to wear one?
There are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, whereby certain groups may be exempt. According to the official government guidance, the following groups are not required to wear a face covering while using public transport or in a shop:
• A child under the age of 11
• An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
• Any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services
• A constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
• An emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
• An official, for example, a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
• If you are allocated a cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, at any time when you are in that accommodation, either alone, or only with members of your own household or a linked household
• If you are on board public transport but remain in your private vehicle, for example on a car ferry
The following are also seen as ‘reasonable excuses’:
• If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
• If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
• If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
• If you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
• If you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
• If you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
• If you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard
• According to the website Autism Eye, these rules around “reasonable excuses” also cover passengers with autism.
What if I want to make my own face masks to sell?
If you want to make and sell face coverings of your own, your products must meet the existing General Product Safety Regulations 2005. You can find all the requirements and guidance for manufacturers here.
If you’d just like to have a go at making your own, here’s a handy step-by-step.
Where can I buy a cool face covering?
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite face coverings. Who knew they could be this pretty!