Face coverings for self-protection
Bulletin 127 | Gordon Woo
When the wearing of face coverings in shops became mandatory in UK on 24 July 2020, there was no specific requirement other than coverage of mouth and nose. The purpose was to protect others. No minimum quality was stipulated; improvised face coverings were acceptable. Moreover, general use of the highest quality medical PPE masks was discouraged, as this would have reduced their availability for frontline healthcare workers.
One year on, supply is no longer a practical issue, but cost is a factor. Following easing of restrictions on 19 July 2021, there is more individual choice over face masks. This choice is not simply binary: to wear a face mask or not in a particular setting. The quality of face mask might be upgraded according to a personal wish for gaining self-protection.
As general usage of face coverings declines, there may be an increased demand for FFP3 masks which offer a degree of self-protection in specific high-risk settings.