Mask on? Mask off? A guide to the guidelines

Most of us have had little more to do with masks than perhaps the occasional creepy clown at Halloween.

So it’s understandable that we’re not entirely sure about the when, why, where and how of mask-wearing during the pandemic.

There is a lot of stuff out there you can read about mask wearing – but not all of it makes sense and, unhelpfully, different sources can sometimes disagree on what the right action should be.

So, to make things a bit simpler, we’ve put together the three things we think are most useful to know.

1. It’s not the law… at the moment

Unlike many other countries, such as France and the Czech Republic, the UK government isn’t recommending you wear a face mask – unless, of course, you work in a patient-facing medical or care role.

However… just this week, the UK government has started to suggest people should wear ‘face covering’ if they are travelling by public transport, as part of the new rules around the lockdown.

2. Masks are not magic

Even though properly manufactured face masks can help to reduce the chance of catching or spreading the virus, wearing one doesn’t automatically make you totally safe.

The government guidelines around social distancing and hand-washing are essential to help protect you from the virus – wearing a mask in public is just another thing you can choose to do to help keep yourself safe.

3. Things might change

As the lockdown changes and eases – and more people start to return to public spaces and facilities – there could well be a different attitude at government level towards face masks.

Right now, social distancing is the focus of their advice – but when that starts to become more difficult, there’s every chance that face masks will become part of government recommendations too.