The UK government has issued advice that people above the age of two should wear a face-covering when in enclosed spaces such as shops and on public transport. Some people are working in jobs where they need a mask but haven’t been provided with one. Our hub covers everything from how to make a face-covering to where to source masks in bulk.
Monday 11 May: A new government document sets out changes to coronavirus advice, including wearing face coverings in crowded places and washing clothes regularly.
Sunday 10 May: Boris Johnson announces UK’s new three-step plan to ease the country out of lockdown and changes message from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay alert’.
Monday 4 May: Three UK airports make face coverings and gloves mandatory while travelling.
Tuesday 28 April: The Scottish government recommends people cover their faces while in some enclosed public spaces, such as shops and public transport.
UK government and World Health Organization (WHO) advice
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you only need to wear a mask if you have contracted COVID-19 or are treating someone who is sick. The latest advice from the UK government is that people in England, aged two and over, should wear a face-covering when in an enclosed public space such as in certain shops, or on public transport, where it’s hard to keep apart from other people. The aim of face-coverings is to help prevent the wearer from inadvertently spreading the disease – some people have no symptoms but can spread it. The key points of the government’s message, to help curb the spread, are to stay home as much as possible, limit contact with others, keep two metres apart, where possible, if you go out, and wash your hands regularly. As devolved nations, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to publish their own advice on such restrictions. The public are already advised to wear masks in Scotland and Northern Ireland when in enclosed spaces such as shops or on public transport.
How to wear a cloth face mask
Cloth face coverings should:
Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
Be secured with ties or ear loops
Include multiple layers of fabric
Allow for breathing without restriction
How to fit your mask properly
When putting a mask on, a tight seal should be created against your nose and mouth. If you’re using a medical mask, follow the instructions provided with your mask for a correct fit. In all cases, test that a seal has been created by exhaling heavily. Air should not escape through any cracks. If a seal hasn’t been created, re-fit and test again.
How to remove your mask properly
First, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before putting on or removing your mask. When you’re ready to take it off, do not touch the front of the mask – it could be contaminated. Instead, remove it carefully using the ties or ear loops. Put the mask straight into the wash if it is re-usable, or discard it, before washing your hands again.
If you want to make your own face-covering, guides like this one from the New York Times outline the steps that can have you wearing a cloth mask in an hour or two. If you have a small swatch of fabric about the size of a napkin, shoelaces, scissors, and a needle and thread, you can make a mask without additional supplies.
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Amelia is a writer for Finder UK, specialising in shopping, style and travel. She has several years of experience writing about all things lifestyle, including health and fitness, fashion and beauty, food and drink and travel. When she's not at work, you'll find her jetting off somewhere hot, playing football or nomming on chocolate.
Where to buy DS2 and DL2 masks in the UKDS2 and DL2 masks conform to the Japanese JMHLWNotification 214 2018 standards, and are considered equivalent to FFP2 masks. Here's where to shop for them in the UK.
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