Information on wearing a mask
This guide is to help make the right choice for you regarding wearing a mask:
when worn correctly masks are one of the tools for preventing the spread of COVID-19
masks are useful to provide a layer of protection in indoor settings, busy places or on public transport
wearing a well-fitting mask covering the nose and mouth is also recommended when visiting vulnerable individuals or in vulnerable settings such as care homes and hospitals
if you are more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to a health condition or illness, you could ask visitors to your home to wear a face covering
wearing a mask in indoor settings where ventilation is poor may protect against infection
scarves and bandannas do not offer good protection
What mask to choose
Some masks offer higher levels of protection than others, and some may be harder to wear than others.
Your mask should be a good fit, fitting closely on the face without any gaps, covering your nose and mouth and be comfortable so that you can keep it on when you need it.
Some masks are designed and tested to ensure they perform consistently and are labelled to tell you what standard they meet and should be worn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It is advised to wear masks that meet a standard with a proper fit over your nose and mouth.
Respirators are mostly recommended in certain workplaces as they filter at least 95% of particles in the air when approved by the relevant standard and when you have a proper fit. They seal tightly to your face when fitted properly.
Respirators have markings printed on the product to indicate they are authentic. Respirator face masks come in a variety of models, prices, availability, and suitability. They may be identified by the international regulatory standard they meet.
FFP (filtering facepiece) masks are the European respiratory standard. FFP standards refer to the filtering half mask classification by EN 149 and is a European standard of testing and marking requirements for filtering masks.
They can be classified as FFP1, FFP2 or FFP3. The higher the number, the better the protection.
Clear masks or masks with a plastic panel may be a useful alternative for:
- people who are deaf or have impaired hearing
people learning to read
- people with disabilities