It is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops in England. Face coverings will be compulsory in more indoor spaces from 8 August including cinemas, museums and places of worship. Full advice on our masks hub here.
Some sellers will charge prices far above the average, also known as “price gouging”. We encourage consumers to compare options before making a purchasing decision.
Surgical masks for sale and in-stock – Checked October 2020
50 or 100 Disposable Face Covers - 4 Colours from GoGroopie
Keep your face covered when you're on the go with Disposable Face Covers. Choose from 4 colours: white, black, blue or pink. Available in a pack of 50 or 100. Covers are made with 3 layers of material.
When our crew last checked this product it was IN STOCK.
Disposable medical face mask (BFE1) - 10 per pack from Regatta
These 3 layer disposable medical masks, are intended to reduce the risk of spread of infection. Available in packs of 10. With shaped nose clip and ear loops.
When our crew last checked this product it was IN STOCK.
If you are interested in purchasing disposable surgical masks for personal use while also maintaining social distancing and sensible hand-washing measures, here are the best places to buy them in the UK.
Looking for a different type of Coronavirus face mask?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently re-examined evidence around the suggestion that members of the general public should wear cloth masks as a preventative measure against the COVID-19 outbreak. The WHO currently recommends mask-wearing in public places where social distancing cannot be maintained.
In the UK, the latest policy from the government is that people in England, aged two and over, must wear face-coverings in crowded spaces, such as shops or public transport, or face fines. This also extends to indoor spaces such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places or worship. The aim of this is to prevent people who have the virus but are not experiencing symptoms, from passing it on to others. England’s Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty has asked the public to refrain from using surgical or medical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare workers. Instead, he advises the general public to use DIY face coverings, such as scarves or cloth masks. As separate nation states, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will give their own advice on such measures. Masks are already compulsory in Scotland and Northern Ireland in shops and on public transport. In Wales, masks are advised for enclosed spaces.
Frequently asked questions
Are surgical masks effective against coronavirus?
Surgical masks are mainly used by surgeons to avoid spreading germs to patients, as well as being used by sick people and carers. They are made in a variety of different thicknesses and types, but generally speaking, they are only effective for blocking large-particle droplets, splashes and sprays. As they fit loosely over the face and do not form a seal, smaller droplets in the air can leak around the edges. This means surgical masks are not thought to be effective in preventing someone from catching coronavirus through very small airborne particles like coughs and sneezes. However, chief medical officer Sir Patrick Vallance says there is “persuasive” data on face masks stopping infected people from transmitting the virus in the first place.
Can surgical masks be reused?
Surgical masks are made to be disposable, which means re-use is not advised. However, a worldwide shortage of masks means that in some cases, there is no choice for health workers who need extra layers of protection. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines for mask re-use amidst this shortage. The organisation doesn’t recommend cleaning them, but it does say that surgical masks should only be re-used by the same person, never shared. Extended use is also thought to be better than taking the mask on and off over the course of a shift. Lastly, when not in use, the CDC recommends that a surgical mask be stored in a breathable container, like a paper bag.
What’s the difference between a surgical mask and an N95 mask?
N95 masks are also known as respirators and are used frequently by healthcare workers. They are thought to be more effective than surgical masks because they block out 95% of all small airborne particles, if worn correctly. Surgical masks are disposable and are less effective in protecting someone from catching an illness due to loose fitting. Take a look at our face mask comparison below for more information.
What are type 2 face masks?
Will I be fined for not wearing a mask in the UK? Face masks are enforced on public transport around the UK. How much you are charged depends on where you live. In England, the British Transport Police will fine you £100 on the spot if you do not wear a face mask on public transport and continue to disobey the rules. This fine can double with each offence up to £3,200.
In Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, travel is forbidden for those not wearing a mask. Police or environmental health officers can also issue a fine for £60 (which doubles for each subsequent offence up to a maximum of £1920).
Who is exempt from wearing face masks?
Those exempt from wearing face masks include:
Children under the age of 11.
People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering without experiencing “severe distress”.
Individuals with physical or mental disabilities.
People who communicate with others through lip-reading.
Those who are “travelling to avoid injury, or to escape risk of harm, and do not have a face covering on them”.
Individuals needing to remove their face coverings while taking medication.
You don’t have to prove that can’t wear a face mask, but if you want to have something you can show, the UK government has cards you can print or display on your smartphone.
Washable alternatives to disposable masks
If you’d rather be able to wash and reuse your face masks, try these cloth mask options. While not intended for medical use, cloth masks can be a suitable alternative for general daily use while practising social distancing.
Georgia-Rose is a publisher at Finder.com and specialises in all things shopping and travel. She has years of experience working in retail and tourism and as an avid budget traveller, she loves helping people find the best deals on everything from plane tickets to sunglasses.
When she's not jetting off somewhere new you'll find her watching cake videos or befriending stray cats.
Looking for a reusable, comfortable bamboo face mask? We’ve listed the best places you can buy one online, with some offering free delivery.
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