Last week bore the news of yet another variant of Coronavirus – Omicron – and, with that, restrictions have been put in place again. From this week, wearing face masks in shops and on public transport is compulsory from 4am Tuesday 30th November 2021.
Our search for stylish face masks has been on-going since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis. It’s well known that the best face masks catch the aerosol droplets you emit when you breathe and talk, making it less likely you’ll spread the virus to anyone else, and a large majority of us have continued wearing them in public places despite the changing in rules. However, the latest government announcement confirms that they are mandatory for everyone again (unless exempt) – so we’re stocking up.
Like a lot of us, you might be thinking “not again.” We get it, they’re not the most pleasant of accessories to don, especially in hot and stuffy environments like the tube. But – and it’s a big one – recent research has been revealed which proved just how paramount it is to still have a strong selection of face masks on rotation. So it’s best to treat yourself to some new ones.
The report issued by the Office for National Statistics – which looked at the characteristics of those testing positive in the fortnight ending September 11 – has shown that people who never wear face coverings in enclosed spaces are one and a half times more likely to test positive for Coronavirus than those who use a mask. Yep: though public information has long concentrated on the benefits of stopping the spread of Coronavirus from a mask wearer, a number of recent studies are suggesting that they also protect the wearer themselves.
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh of the University of Oxford said: “It would also be expected to protect the wearer to some extent (for example by reducing the amount of virus that you breathe in, thereby producing an asymptomatic or mild illness rather than a severe one). If you do wear a mask, make sure it doesn’t have any gaps round the side, otherwise it is much less effective.”
And that’s not all: further research published in the Physics of Fluids at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and California Baptist University found that wearing a used face mask could actually be just as harmful as not wearing one at all. So yeah, we’re adding a few more safe and stylish face masks to our rotation – along with some face masks for glasses wearers, one or two of these chic AF silk face masks and a wedding face mask for special occasions.
Here’s everything you need to know about wearing face masks, plus our edit of stylish face masks from brands like Rixo, GANNI and Emily Carter.
Is it still mandatory to wear face masks?
Despite the lifting of the majority of COVID rules and regulations, it is yet again compulsory to wear a face mask in shops and on public transport. These rules come after the news of variant Omicron and are effective from 4am Tuesday 30th November.
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, gave more detail when he said that fines of £200 will be handed out to people in England who fail to wear masks on public transport and in shops. The fines will double with every offence, rising to £400 for a second infraction and £800 for a third, up to a maximum of £6,400.
Who is exempt from wearing a mask?
Contrary to popular belief, the official advice states that face masks should not be worn by everyone. There are a few instances where exemptions are acceptable, these are:
- Children under the age of 11
- People who rely on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
- People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering due to physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
- Those with respiratory conditions or cognitive impairments
- People who may become distressed when putting on, wearing or removing a face covering
- Police officers and other emergency workers (face masks may interfere with their ability to serve)
- To avoid harm or injury to yourself or others
What to look for in a face mask
- Make sure your face mask fits properly. A good reusable face mask should cover the nose and mouth, and not have any gaping around the sides of the face. Look out for face masks with wire across the nose to help with this.
- Buy a face mask that can withstand machine washing, since we need to wash our face masks after every use for them to be effective.
- Consider a silk face mask if you want to reduce the risk of maskne.
- Pattern! We’ve had a tough 18 months, so you’ve gotta find joy in the smallest of things – even if that is the mood-boosting print on your face covering.
Where can I buy a stylish face mask online?
One of the best places to buy stylish face masks online is Pacamask. In fact, GLAMOUR readers have bought more face masks from Pacamask than they have any other face mask retailer since lockdown began. They offer a tonne of colours and prints in their collection, from black (their bestseller) to baby pink and ditsy floral, and the masks are not only soft and comfy but made from a fabric which kills 99% of bacteria for up to 50 washes. Impressive, right? If you fancy trying one, you can enter the code GLAMOUR10 at checkout for 10% off your order.
Elsewhere, Scandi-brand GANNI has dropped a whole host of face masks in packs of three – which each come with a storage pouch – while ASOS stocks stylish face masks from brands like Topshop, Selfridges stocks Eugenia Kim pleated silk face coverings and Roop’s upcycled face masks are finished with ribbon ties and crafted from organic cotton.