When and how to use masks: COVID-19 advice for the public

When and how to use masks: COVID-19 advice for the public

COVID-19 has shaped and changed our lives. As the restrictions of lockdown continue to be lifted, we are entering into a new way of living which now includes the wearing of face coverings. From walking down the street or travelling on public transport many of us will have been greeted with people wearing these face coverings. But when exactly should we be wearing these face coverings?

As stated in recent months by the government guidance for staying safe outside, it is now mandatory you wear a face covering at all times on public transport or when in a hospital. And as of the 24th of July, it will also be compulsory to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets in England; to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for workers. But if you fail to adhere by these government guidelines the government has announced those who will face a fine of up to £100.

The prospect of being allowed to return to a new way of living after being locked inside is exciting, though we need to ensure we are being safe. Here at BioDecon, we are continuously working to make our world a safer place to live in and never more so than during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We provide specialist decontamination services for a range of setting using highly trained professionals and following the highest safety standards and procedures.

The government also recommends the wearing of face coverings in enclosed public spaces. This is where you might come into contact with people you don’t normally meet and social distancing isn’t possible, but it is important to note face coverings do not replace social distancing.

In conjunction with keeping social distancing measures and the washing of hands regularly and thoroughly, face coverings can prevent the spread of the virus. Although evidence suggests face coverings do not fully protect you, the wearing of a face-covering by everyone is imperative as it may provide protection for others you come into contact with, especially if you are infected but are yet to develop symptoms. But how do we ensure we are wearing these masks appropriately?

It should be pointed out wearing a face covering is not the same as wearing a medical mask. Therefore, it is vital to ensure you are wearing a fabric mask safely. Ultimately, the washing of your hands before putting on and taking off a face covering is essential, while inspecting the mask for dirt and damage. If a mask is damaged or dirty it shouldn’t be worn. Fabric masks should be washed preferably after each day in hot water and detergent to kill bacteria and germs.

When wearing a face covering it is essential the mask covers your mouth, nose and chin and leaves no gaps when being worn. They also should never be worn under the nose. Adjusting the straps on the mask when wearing will ensure a tighter fit. It is also important you avoid touching the mask as much as possible when wearing. So, when removing and putting on the mask you should touch the straps of the mask rather than the fabric. Face coverings should never be shared with anyone else or be removed where there are people within 1 metre.

COVID-19 has required us all to adapt to how we live our lives but it key we all stick to these guidelines. Following these guidelines of wearing face coverings will not only help to protect yourself but others around you. So remember to have a face covering with you when mandatory to avoid those fines and keep everyone safe.