A year on from when the coronavirus pandemic began, and we’re all pretty used now to washing our hands and wearing a face mask when we’re in public. Although lockdown restrictions in the UK are easing, many people will still be feeling a little nervous about the situation going forward.
Just because lockdown is coming to an (albeit slow) end, it doesn’t mean that you and your staff should stop following social distancing guidelines and government advice, especially when it comes to face masks. The vaccine is helping to slow down the rate of infection, but the virus has not disappeared completely. As offices, shops, restaurants and gyms begin to reopen, we all need to remember that we still need to wear a face mask.
We’ve put together a handy guide below on how to wear your face mask properly, the guidelines surrounding face masks and why they’re so important to wear.
Face mask guidelines in the UK
Let’s start by taking a look at the face mask guidelines. The UK government requires you by law to wear face coverings in some places, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse. There are also a number of locations where face masks and PPE is encouraged.
For example, in England you must wear a face covering in the following indoor settings:
- Public transport, taxis and private hire vehicles
- Shops and supermarkets
- Hospitality locations, except when seated at a table to eat or drink
- Churches and places of worship
There are many other places where face coverings are mandatory, the full list can be viewed on the UK government website, here.
But what about in work environments and offices? Do we need PPE for office workers?
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided detailed guidance for specific workplace settings. They state that the best way to stop the spread of the virus is through social distancing, high standards of hand hygiene, increased surface cleaning, and other measures such as using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
These measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace, but wearing a face mask is a good precautionary measure to take to protect others around you. In some work environments, such as hospitals and care homes, it is vital that you have plenty of PPE for your staff.
How to wear a face mask
Unsure what the correct way to wear a face mask is? Putting on a mask should be a relatively straight forward process, but there’s a few things you need to make sure you do, such as:
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before you even pick up your mask.
- Put the mask over your mouth and nose, and secure it under your chin.
- Make sure your face covering fits snugly against the sides of your face.
- Make sure you can breathe okay in the mask
If you have to constantly adjust your face covering when wearing it, then unfortunately, this type of mask doesn’t fit you properly. Instead, you’ll have to look for another mask type or brand.
What to look out for when choosing your face mask
Take a look at our ‘do’s and don’ts’ of mask wearing, so you know exactly how to protect yourself and those around you.
- Wear your face covering over your nose and mouth.
- Always wear a mask in public, especially when you’re around people who don’t live in your household.
- Wear a mask made from a breathable fabric.
- Wear a mask with multiple layers.
- Try to wear a reusable mask – it saves you money and helps the environment!
- Keep a spare mask in your bag – to replace the one you’ve been wearing over a long period of time.
- Store used masks in a plastic bag or container until they can be washed.
- Put the mask around your neck or up on your forehead.
- Wear a mask with thin fabric – these don’t offer enough protection!
- Leave your nose out of your mask – it won’t stop you from breathing in/spreading the virus.
- Touch your mask where possible -if you have to, wash your hands straight after, or use sanitiser.
How to take off masks safely
Most of us know how to put on a mask safely, but enough importance isn’t stressed about the best way to take it off once used! Your used mask could potentially have Covid-19 particles on it, so you need to make sure you take great care when taking it off your face.
Where possible, wait until you get home or have access to a bathroom/washroom, until you take your mask off. Either untie the strings behind your head or stretch the ear loops to pull it away from your face.
Remember to try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth when removing the face covering, and make sure you thoroughly wash your hands straight after.
If your mask is reusable, place it in the washing machine as soon as possible and wash it depending on the type of fabric it’s made from. If you don’t have a reusable mask, it could be worth investing in one, as disposable masks can only be used once.
Why it’s important to wear your face mask
Covid-19 is an airborne virus that spreads between people through respiratory droplets. They travel into the air when someone coughs, sneezes, breathes or talks. These droplets can then land in other people’s mouths, noses or even their eyes.
Face masks are one of the best barriers of protection in preventing these respiratory droplets from reaching others. There have been numerous studies that have shown that face masks and other forms of PPE can reduce the spray of these droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
Not only are you protecting yourself from catching Covid-19, you’re also helping to protect people around you and stop the spread of the virus around your community.
Mask4Life can provide PPE and face masks for your employees
If you’re looking for face masks and PPE for your employees, you need to make sure you find some that offer suitable protection and meet the recommended mask guidelines. At Mask4Life, we offer a wide range of standard and premium reusable face coverings for businesses.
All of our face masks are double layered, reusable, and fully washable. As they are fully washable, there’s no extra cost of purchasing disposable masks and, as a result there’s a 100% reduction in waste. Not only does this save your business money, but it also helps to stop used masks ending up in the ocean or landfill sites!