The main value of wearing a mask is to protect other people. Masks prevent sick people from infecting others.
Wear a mask if it is difficult to maintain physical distancing of 1.5m from others, particularly in high-risk areas such as public transport, supermarkets, shops, churches and places of worship, and if you’re caring for vulnerable and elderly people.
Masks should cover your nose and mouth.
Wash or sanitise your hands before putting on the mask or taking it off and do not touch the mask while wearing or removing it.
Make sure the mask fits snugly under your chin, over the bridge of your nose and against the sides of your face and don’t allow it to hang around your face or under your nose.
Do not reuse single use masks, and make sure that reusable masks are washed and dried after use and stored in a clean, dry place.
Masks should be made from at least three layers of breathable fabric to ensure adequate protection.
Single-use, surgical masks can be purchased from reputable retail outlets including chemists, hardware stores and other shops.
Children under 12 years of age do not need to wear a mask. Toddlers under 2 years of age and babies must not wear masks, which are a choking and suffocation risk.
A face mask is not a substitute for other precautions. The best ways to protect yourself against COVID-19 are practising physical distancing, washing your hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or tissue and staying home when sick.