Which Face Masks Are Allowed in the UK?

Advice on how to best deal with the current pandemic has been changing almost daily for months so it is no wonder we aren’t all clear on what the current guidelines, advice and regulations are. One thing is for sure that no matter what else changes, face masks are a fixture in our lives for the foreseeable future. At least until we are out of the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

Face masks are one of the key ways that we can keep everyone a little bit safer and slow the spread of coronavirus. Face coverings fit over the mouth and nose and ensure any droplets and bacteria don’t escape and infect other people and they work best if everyone follows the guidelines and wears a mask in public indoor areas.

But what types of face masks are best to wear and why? Keep reading to find out.

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What Type of Face Masks Are Best?

The best type of face mask is one that fits tightly to your face with minimal or no gaps. This is to keep any droplets escaping when you breathe or talk and it helps to keep everyone safe. You need to ensure your mask is as comfortable as possible when out and about because you shouldn’t be touching or adjusting your mask once it’s on. If you touch something in a shop with the virus lingering and then touch your mask you could be directly transferring the virus to your mouth.

You can buy disposable face masks that are made from similar materials you would expect to see in a hospital but it is important to note that these are not medical grade and the general public are encouraged to not look for medical face masks – these are needed in hospitals. These singly use types of masks are great and are designed for their purpose but you might find the costs soon adding up and they are not very environmentally friendly.

The best kind of face covering if one made out of fabric and these come in a few design types. Some of them you can make at home without sewing. You can take a look at these various mask types on the BBC website.

The best of these is not so much about the design but choosing the right design for you. Masks need to fit tightly to your face without leaving gaps and there are various options you can do this. Some prefer elastic that fits over the ears but others find it more comfortable to wear a mask that fastens around the head.

In addition to this, you need to make sure you get a mask with enough layers of fabric. Government recommendation is that it needs to have been made out of at least two layers of fabric. The World Health Organisation recommends three-layer masks for safest results so you could have a face mask made from three layers of fabric or two layers of fabric and a removable filter layer.

When Are Face Masks Compulsory?

Face masks are required when you are in situations where you are likely to be mixing with other members of the public in indoor settings.

Currently, you are required to wear a face covering in many indoor environments including the following

  • Shops
  • Places of worship
  • On public transport
  • Professional indoor premises
  • Funeral homes
  • Any personal care venue.
  • Vets and doctors
  • Any visitor attractions or entertainment venues.
  • Libraries
  • Community centres, social clubs or any similar venue.
  • Storage facilities.

This is just a small snapshot of the current areas so if you are likely to be going somewhere different or are unsure then check out the government’s website for the most up to date information on where you need to wear a face covering.

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What Type of Face Masks Are Allowed?

  • Single-use “medical” masks
  • Close-fitting bandanas
  • Cloth coverings
  • Scarves
  • Religious clothing
  • RECOMMENDED: three-layer masks

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing what type of face covering to wear. We have already outlined the two most common and best option above. In addition to these disposable single-use face masks and the reusable fabric face coverings already mentioned, you are also allowed to wear any kind of face covering that fits close to the face such as bandanas, scarves, religious clothing or a hand made cloth covering. It is especially important when using these that you ensure they fit close to your face to avoid any droplets containing bacteria to escape. You should also wear at least two layers of fabric and, if you can, wear three layers.

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