From 24 July in England, anyone visiting a supermarket or shop will be expected to cover their face or risk being issued a fine of £100. As these new measures come into place, we wanted to break down what you need to know about face coverings, and where you should buy them from!
Why do we need to wear a mask?
The World Health Organisation has advised that people should wear a three-layer face-covering when out in the community. With these coverings, the outer layer should be water-resistant, the inner layer should be water absorbent and the mid-layer acts as a filter. While they have emphasised that wearing a face-covering alone cannot protect people from COVID-19, and must be combined with social distancing measures and regular hand washing, they are an important preventative measure to reduce the risk of spreading infection.
However, it’s important to note that scientists at the Leverhulme Centre, who studied different types of face coverings used by members of the public, have said that some coverings are not as effective as others. Loosely woven fabrics, such as scarves, have been shown to be the least effective.
Dr Simon Clarke, an associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, has said: “What is really important is that you have the right mask, fitted properly and changed regularly.”
How to choose an effective mask:
Professor Melinda Mills, the director of the Leverhulme Centre, said: “We find that masks made from high-quality material such as high-grade cotton, multiple layers and particularly hybrid constructions are effective” and added, “for instance, combining cotton and silk or flannel provide over 95% filtration, so wearing a mask can protect others.”
It’s also important to note that attention should be placed on how well a face-covering fits, as it should loop around the ears or around the back of the neck for better coverage and security.
However, a report published by the Royal Society has suggests that even basic homemade face coverings can help to reduce the transmission of coronavirus if enough people wear them when in public. This report found that based on mathematical modelling, if an entire population wore face coverings that were only 75% effective, it would bring the R value (the number of people an infected individual passes the virus on to) from 4.0 to under 1.0, without the need for additional lockdowns.
Where to buy a face mask:
Unless you regularly come into contact with many people who could have COVID-19, a medical-grade N95 mask isn’t necessary.
Here are some of our top choices for face masks:
- Casetify Reusable Cloth Mask. These masks have a cotton outer layer and are sculpted to fit the face closely. They aren’t just cotton masks but are made of five layers of fabric, including a layer for a filter. Every purchase also includes the cost of donating a medical-grade mask to frontline health workers. Purchase here.
- Disney Face Masks. Disney will donate 100% of the proceeds from the sales of Disney cloth face coverings, up to £500,000, to the Red Cross organisations across Europe to support people in crisis. In addition, Disney is donating 100,000 cloth face coverings to vulnerable children and families in local communities through our long-standing charity partnerships. Purchase here.
- U-Mask Model 2. According to it’s website, the new U-Mask Model 2 is: “effective against viruses, bacteria and air pollution”. Masks consist of a lycra cover using recycled ocean plastic over replaceable refills with four filtration layers and containing the brand’s “BioLayer”. Purchase here.
- Boden Face Covering. With each purchase, you will receive three ‘mystery’ prints in Boden’s signature patterns and £5 from each pack will be donated to Helpforce – a charity that helps support NHS staff and patients. Purchase here. Purchase here.