Government: Face Shields Don’t Count As Face Coverings Under New Regulations

Plastic face shields do not comprise a “face covering” under new regulations published by the Government last week. Those establishments and employees affected by the new rules would therefore be in breach of the regulations if they are found using them instead of face coverings like masks and bandanas. 

In response to YGTV questions, the Government has also said that these shields provide “limited protection” from inhaling aerosols, as they do not form a seal against the outside, and whilst viral droplets in sneezes and coughs are captured by a face shield they “do not impede aerosols to any major extent.”

A spokesperson stressed: “The Public Health advice given to government is subject to change, due to the changing basis of evidence and research.

"Evidence has now accumulated to show that aerosol spread is a common mode for respiratory virus spread, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The use of good fitting masks of at least FFP2 standard is therefore protective, though personal protection from aerosols lasts a limited time as the fibres in the mask become drenched with moisture from the breath. However, these masks prevent the aerosol generation and spread to others.”

The spokesperson also highlighted that some people who suffer from mental health concerns around mask wearing and have been advised to wear face shields instead.

The Government says that it has received “no specific knowledge” of any establishments using face shields as a replacement for masks.

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