Over a week ago, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, declared that from the July 24 – everyone will be required to wear face coverings when browsing shops. While the government have been advising the general public to wear them in enclosed public spaces since May, this new announcement marks the instatement of mandatory legislation regarding face masks.
Although facial coverings will be compulsory in stores – if you are dining inside a pub, cafe or restaurant, it is simply impractical to wear a mask, therefore not required. However, when in store ordering/picking up takeaway food from an eatery; you are obligated to wear a face covering. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt from the new rule.
“Face masks will give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”
– Matt Hancock
Do Face Coverings Work?
World Health Organisation (WHO) advice says non-medical face coverings should be worn in public, where social distancing is not possible. Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, when the wearer coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control.
Based on what we know about COVID-19, it spreads via respiratory droplets with emerging evidence of airborne transmission. While this is less of a problem outside – masks are considered essential in enclosed areas, as they reduce the dispersion of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
Not only are masks fantastic at preventing the transmission of the virus, they are also an effective method of protection for the wearer. With the right materials, a cloth mask can insulate you from 50% of airborne micro-particles. Although this isn’t quite full protection, when combined with the 1-metre-plus rule and thorough hand hygiene – your chances of contracting or transmitting COVID-19 significantly diminish.
Wearing a mask safely
While it is important to use them in conjunction with other measures; there’s no denying how critical masks are in the fight against coronavirus. Before wearing a mask, it is important that you understand the following:
- Remember to wash your hands before putting your mask on.
- Inspect the mask and do not use if it is damaged or dirty.
- Make sure your mouth, nose and chin are covered by the mask.
- Adjust the mask to your face – leaving no gaps on the sides.
- Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.
- Change your mask once it gets dirty or wet.
- Wash your hands before taking off the mask.
- Touch only the straps behind the head or ears when removing – avoid touching the front of the mask. As you take off the covering, pull it away from your face.
- Wash your hands after taking off any mask.
- If you need to reuse a fabric mask – store it in a clean, resealable bag.
- Wash masks in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water, at least once a day.
- Make sure that you have your own mask and do not share it with others.
Remember, as of today – everyone will have to wear a mask when browsing The Pantiles & Peterborough One Retail Park. This, combined with other thorough preventative measures, will ensure the safety of everyone visiting each destination’s shops, restaurants and bars.