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Face coverings

Published: 29 June 2020

Cloth face coverings

What you need to know about face coverings

Planning on heading to the shops this week? From Friday 24 July onwards, face coverings and face masks must be worn whilst on public transport and when inside enclosed public spaces including supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, transport hubs, banks and post offices. It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site. Anyone who does not comply will face a fine of £100 and can be refused entry.

Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt. See the latest GOV.UK guidance on face coverings on their website.

Why should we be wearing face coverings?

Face coverings help protect other people from Coronavirus which can be spread by droplets from people coughing, sneezing or speaking. Based on the latest scientific evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO), if face coverings are worn correctly, it can help reduce the spread of Coronavirus when in confined or crowded public spaces.

Get your facts straight about face coverings

Wearing a mask does not lead to oxygen deficiency or carbon dioxide (CO2) intoxication. There are plenty of myths surrounding Coronavirus and in particular the wearing of face coverings so it's important to get your facts straight, use trusted sources such as the WHO who've produced a Mythbusters page on Coronavirus which you can share with family and friends.

How to wear a face covering correctly

When wearing a face covering, the most important thing is to make sure you can breathe comfortably and to make sure the ear loops or ties, fit securely to the head. Face coverings have to cover the sides of your face otherwise, it will not stop droplets from being breathed in.

The WHO have produced a step by step guide to wearing face coverings properly, what you should do before and after you take them off.

Choose a face covering that's environmentally friendly

With a short supply of PPE to the NHS and some environmental concerns on disposal face masks – face coverings made from cloth will keep you just as protected and protect our environment.

Did you know that single use masks are made from many layers of plastic? An analysis done at the University College London showed that if every person in the country used one single use mask each day for a year, that would add a whopping 66, 000 tonnes of plastic waste. That would mean extra pressure on Surrey's landfills.

Why not make your own?

You can help save the environment and use cloth coverings which are sustainable can protect you without the added waste, although coverings must have at least two layers of fabric. You can make your own face coverings from old T-shirts which is a great way to upcycle any un-wanted clothing.

Face coverings must be washed periodically so it will be handy for every member of the household to have a few on hand as they must be worn whilst shopping and while on public transport. You can read further guidance on the GOV.UK website.

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