Why Do You Need to Wear a Face Mask for Coronavirus?
Wearing some form of protective shield over the mouth and nose when out in public has been scientifically proven to help lower infectious disease transmission rates.
Medical experts have made it explicitly clear that wearing an appropriate face covering significantly reduces an individual’s risk of both catching and passing on COVID-19.
When Do You Need to Wear a Face Mask or Covering?
In England, the legal requirement to wear face coverings indoors and on public transport ceased from 19th July 2021.
Instead, the focus has now shifted to allow individuals to make personal judgments based on the risks.
This is largely dependent on where you are and if there are other people around you. Factors affecting what is sensible for a given individual will include their unique working and living environments, personal health and risk levels, and the type and frequency of their interactions with others.
However, even though they are no longer strictly mandatory, face coverings are still strongly recommended in public areas and high-risk shared spaces. For example, this could include:
- Enclosed public spaces
- Public transport
Face shields and coverings are also a key part of sensible approaches to safety at work, particularly for employees returning to the workplace.
It should be noted that face shields - i.e. plastic full-face protective visors, offering spatter or debris protection for the eyes as well – are not usually suitable as a standalone defence against small droplets and smaller airborne virus particles. If you require full face protection and COVID protection at work, you may need to combine a face shield with some form of respiratory (mouth and nose) mask.
Wearing a Face Shield or Mask in a Workplace
Face masks in work - whether that is an office or any other type of workplace - are broadly seen by the UK Government as an important step in making a safe return to work and commuting publicly outside our homes. Although some employees and businesses have transitioned to working from home on a more permanent basis, it is recognised that this is not a possibility for all individuals and industries.
A more detailed guide to face shields, masks and general COVID safety for specific jobs, workplaces and roles has been created by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Click here to see their guidance on working safely during Coronavirus. Official guidelines are being updated regularly as the landscape around the pandemic shifts.