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How and when you could wear a face covering to protect those around you, if you choose to wear one.

First published:
12 May 2020
Last updated:

Wearing face coverings whenever you leave home is a matter of personal choice.

PPE worn by health and social care staff and other forms of protection available for the general public are different. The PPE worn in a clinical or care setting, must be made to certain standards and must be worn according to strict guidelines.

Coronavirus has put pressure on supplies of PPE worldwide. We need to ensure we have enough PPE to protect health and social care workers and people who are ill.

You could be infectious even if you do not have symptoms – so could people around you. When someone with the virus coughs or breathes, the infection travels through the air in droplets and lands on surfaces. If you’re wearing a cloth face covering over your mouth and nose some of the droplets will be stopped from spreading by the covering.

There is also evidence that infection can be transmitted when you touch your nose or mouth and then touch a surface. We touch our faces a lot throughout the day – a face covering could help you do that less.

If you are travelling on public transport, you may not be able to maintain the 2 metre social distancing for the whole journey. In these circumstances, a face covering might be useful to protect those around you.

We do not recommend everyone wears a non-clinical face covering in Wales. We do not recommend that they are compulsory. But, we support the public’s right to choose whether to wear them.

Our advice remains to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

If you are leaving your home to work, shop or exercise, you should take all possible measures to stay safe and protect yourself. This includes keeping a safe distance from others, washing your hands regularly and not touching your face. 

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