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These are the type of face coverings you can wear in shops as they become mandatory from July 24 in England




From July 24, face coverings will be made mandatory in all shops with failures to comply resulting in a £100 fine.

So to help prepare for this change in just over a week's time, here is a handy list of the options people have to choose from.

Cloth face coverings

Cloth face covering stock image. (38513953)
Cloth face covering stock image. (38513953)

Most of these masks have one or two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric to prevent air droplets from passing through.

There are a wide range of private sellers who price their masks anywhere between £4 and £20, so it's worth shopping around or following government guidance to make your own.

These masks are reusable, but wearers are advised to wash them in the laundry or with soap and water between uses.

They also come in many different designs, sold in a range of colourful fabrics and different styles, such as a bandanna which drapes down to the chest.

If you would like to be a little more cautious, some cloth masks are made with a pocket which allows a 2.5 disposable filter sheet to be slipped inside.

Some cloth masks come with one-way valves embedded in the front to make them more breathable.

But keep in mind some experts believe these masks do not prevent air particles from getting out well enough, making them less safe than those without a valve.

Surgical mask

Surgical mask stock image. (38513668)
Surgical mask stock image. (38513668)

These masks are made of non-woven fabric and are designed to filter out larger droplets when you breath.

The government has advised members of the public not to buy and wear surgical masks, to ensure frontline health workers have the supplies they need.

They will generally have a nose clip and three layers of protection; an inner layer for breathability, middle layer for effective filtration and a waterproof outer layer.

Boxes of 50 can be bought online for between £12 and £30. As they are disposable, how frequently you go out will depend on whether this is cost-effective for you.

Because these individually wrapped masks are disposable wearers may be concerned about the amount of waste being generated. In this case, a reusable cloth mask may be better for you.

Children's mask

Children's covering stock image. (38514049)
Children's covering stock image. (38514049)

Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear a covering in shops under the new rules. But some sellers also make cotton coverings to fit a child's face if they need it.

A wider range of reusable masks can be found online. Etsy has a very wide range of sizes and child-friendly styles for around £5 each.

See-through panel mask

Lip-reading face mask. Credit: Scrubtastic Rutland (38514258)
Lip-reading face mask. Credit: Scrubtastic Rutland (38514258)

This mask is similar to the cotton coverings except they have a see-through panel on the front to show your mouth.

This can be useful for people who work or live with those who are deaf and hard of hearing, but can lip read. Though lip reading is more difficult when the whole face cannot be seen, this is a more helpful option than covering the mouth entirely.

One of the drawbacks of this mask is the window fogging up, but this can be avoided by rubbing dish soap on the panel and allowing it to dry.

They are available online for around £6 and are sold by some private mask makers.

Respirator masks

FFP1 face mask. Credit: Flickr (38514620)
FFP1 face mask. Credit: Flickr (38514620)

These disposable masks are designed to form a seal around the face and are often made of tightly tangled fibres for filtering even smaller pathogens in the air.

However, the public has been advised not to use these face masks because they are in low supply and are needed by healthcare workers.

The FFP1 mask has five layers of filtration and is available online for £5 per two masks.


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