Face masks played a significant role during times of coronavirus outbreak since their use became essential to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Now, more than a hundred countries require them to be worn in public spaces. What are the mandates and rules in different countries around the world? And how do face coverings help to slow the pandemic? Read on to find out more.
Why should we wear face coverings?
Before we start, let's summarise the main reasons why face masks play such an important role during times of pandemic.
Particles of the virus range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols. They can be spread by air or direct contact, for example, while sneezing, coughing, breathing, verbal communication or touching surfaces. The virus easily spreads in poorly ventilated and highly frequented indoor settings, as the particles occur in the air and travel. And due to current evidence, the transmission of the virus spreads mainly to people in close physical contact within one metre. Such particles are then being inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Face masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives as they protect our respiratory system by filtering out and blocking contaminants. Therefore, face masks can be used for the protection of healthy persons but also to prevent onward transmission. Filtration efficiency depends on the type of mask. After almost two years in the pandemic, different face coverings have appeared on the market. DIY cloth masks are the simplest option which, however, doesn't have such effective filtration as surgical masks or respirators. är now offers a more sustainable choice of an FFP2 respirator mask, which, thanks to self-cleaning technology and special disinfection, last up to 5 times longer than the regular respirators. är FFP2 Respirator can block up to 99.8% of contaminants smaller than 0.3μm in size, including not only viruses but pollen, smog and dust as well.
Besides transmission by air, droplets can be picked up from surfaces as well. And for this reason, wearing a mask is only a part of the protective approach, and you should not forget to observe other rules, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering sneezes, coughs and more.
What are the mask mandates in different countries?
From 19 July 2021, England lifted most of the restrictions in an attempt to begin a new way of living with the virus. Being in one of the first ten countries with the highest covid cases, such move is a step to unknown. At this moment, no one can surely predict what this decision will bring, and for this reason, we can only watch how the situation will develop.
Yet, the Government of the United Kingdom still recommends wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed areas, where you come into contact with people you don't normally meet. This also doesn't mean an absolute lift on face coverings. In some private settings, a face mask can be required, as businesses and transport operators have the right to set their own rules. These are, for example, London transport or shops like Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waterstones.
Other parts of the U.K. still comply with face mask mandates. In Scotland and Wales, face masks are required in indoor public places, such as health and social care settings, public transport, shops and places where food and drink are served when you are not seated. In Northern Ireland, face masks are mandatory on public transport and private buses, taxis, bus stations, airports and aircraft.
From 26 June 2021, face masks are not mandatory in outdoor places, where social distancing of 1.5 metres is observed. However, the use of a face mask is still compulsory for anyone over the age of 6 years in the following settings:
- In any enclosed space open to the public such as shops, restaurants, hotels, hospitals and more
- In indoor places where you meet people, not from your household
- In public transport including transport stations, platforms and airports
- In outdoor areas with closer contact to other people than 1.5 metre
Germany requires face coverings in public transport, stores and in busy outdoor areas where the minimum distance cannot be observed. All masks must fulfil FFP2 or KN95/N95 requirements.
In France, a face mask must be worn in any indoor public spaces such as shops, restaurants, museums, offices, schools and more. Also in public transport including airport, transport stations etc. Covering your mouth and nose outdoors is required if there is no possibility to observe social distancing.
Also, in Italy, it is compulsory to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces. Face masks in outdoor areas are mandatory only if 1 metre of social distancing can't be observed.
Face mask rules in the United States differs across the country.
Here is the list of states that apply mask mandates: American Samoa, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington
How to choose the right size?
It is important to choose the right fit of your face covering to achieve the proper protection. Face covering should be held in place comfortably with little adjustment using elastic bands or ties. The fit should closely enwrap and seal your nose, cheeks and chin. Masks withs valves should filtrate your exhaled breath as well. är Face Mask with Valve is a few of its kind equipped with an exhalation valve placed in front of nanofiller, which enable dual filtration. Moreover, all our products have adjustable earloops, and a nose clips wire to fit your face perfectly.
Can I wear a mask for different purposes?
In some places around the world, face masks or respirators were generally worn a long time before the pandemic. For example, in Bejing - China, and other areas with highly polluted air, wearing face-covering was essential for daily protection against smog, dust, and other air pollutants and contaminants.
är Respirator filters 99.8% of common contaminants and pollutants such as viruses, dust, smog or even pollen! For this reason, respirators are suitable to avoid not only viruses but allergies and smog as well.
Click here to find out more about face masks and allergies.
WRITTEN BY: ÄR FACEMASK