The effectiveness and benefits of face coverings have been a highly debated topic in the fight against COVID-19 across the world. Numerous health experts such as the Robert Koch Institute have found that despite showing no evidence of protecting the wearer, face coverings significantly reduce the spread of infectious droplets emitted through breathing, speaking, coughing and sneezing and therefore protect others from the wearer. This is particularly important as many people who have contracted the virus do not show any symptoms und may therefore be unaware of the risk they pose to others. Therefore, many countries made it compulsory to cover their mouth and nose in public, however, government regulations differ around the world:
In Europe, the first country to make the use of face coverings mandatory throughout the pandemic was the Czech Republic on March 18. Prime Minister Andrej Babis even encouraged US President Donald Trump to follow the same approach with a tweed on Twitter. A further early adopter was Austria, who required its public to wear face coverings in public spaces, such as public transport and supermarkets. In Germany, a similar approach was taken: The first city to make face coverings mandatory for shoppers was Jena, Thuringia, and saw a drastic slowdown of infections, whereupon the government extended the regulation to all its 16 states. In Slovakia, President Zuzana Caputova matched her mask to her red dress after following suit on March 25 in order to reduce the social stigma towards wearing face coverings.
Most European countries have now adopted these regulations as part of their lockdown exit strategy and require people to wear a face covering in public spaces, public transport in particular. The latest one being Spain, who made it compulsory for the public to cover mouth and nose in indoor spaces as well outdoors, where two meters distance cannot always be kept on May 20.
In the UK, face coverings have been made compulsory to wear on public transport from June 15, however, further regulations may follow to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not advise wearing surgical masks as these are in short supply across the world, while being desperately needed by front line medical staff. Instead, US health officials recommend the wearing of a simple face cloth to reduce the further escalating spreading of the virus in the country.
In Central and South America, Venezuela was one of the first countries to impose the wearing of masks on its public back in March. Shortly after, Colombia, Cuba and Ecuador followed and made it mandatory to wear masks in public spaces such as stores. Many other countries followed suit shortly after, the latest being Honduras, where people must now cover mouth and nose whenever leaving the house.
In many Asian countries wearing a face mask is not a new phenomenon and people are much more accustomed to it due to pollution or previous virus outbreaks. However, it is strongly recommended to wear a face covering in Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand. Vietnam made it mandatory to wear a face covering in public March 16.
In Africa, Cameroon started by imposing the wearing of a face covering on all people leaving their house on April 9. Shortly after, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Zambia followed with similar regulations. In Morocco, people who fail to comply with government regulations can get fined 1,300 dirhams (107 pounds) or might even face a prison sentence of up to three months.
In summary, most countries across the world have now made the wearing of face coverings in public compulsory. So, if you are still looking for your perfect face covering, Bags of Ethics™ got you covered. In collaboration with European scientists, we developed a fashionable range of face coverings that are reusable and washable – for people and planet. Pick your favourite here.