On Friday 24 July 2020, face coverings and masks will be made compulsory in all UK shops, supermarkets and stores. This move from the Government has received mixed views - some believing the action is a little too late, whilst others have welcomed the move.
This latest requirement follows on from last month's public transportation move where face masks and coverings are compulsory for all passengers on UK public transportation. Those who do not wear face masks in shops or on public transport will be made to wear them or face a fine of up to £100. There are a couple of exemptions, those with disabilities and children under the age of 11.
So as we countdown the days until the enforced rule is in place, we have come up with 8 top tips on wearing face masks whilst shopping.
1. Wear a clean, new mask per outing
This is a given really - but we recommend packing a clean, new mask per outing. Don't fall for the trap of using an already worn mask or face covering, even if it is reusable, don't risk it! Bacteria and germs can live on surfaces from hours to days at a time, it's just not worth it! Get into the habit of packing a fresh, new mask every time you venture out.
2. Comfort first
Using clean hands, apply your face mask or covering, but make sure it is comfortable before you enter a shop. The mask should cover your nose and mouth. If you're wearing a face mask, ensure that the loop is tucked neatly around your ears. You don't want to be heading into a store with your mask not correctly on, or worse - adjusting it with unclean hands if its uncomfortable. If you're using a scarf for a face covering, you may want to use a safety pin to pin it in place.
Masks can take some time to get used to but its not all bad. They have been put in place to protect others from your water droplets. If you can't get on with a mask, try a scarf or bandana style covering - as long as your nose and mouth are fully covered, you'll be safe to enter the shops.
3. Carry an extra mask with you
Naturally, the more we breathe through our mask, the more moisture will be on it. If your mask gets wet or dirty, its time for a new one. We recommend carrying an extra mask with you so you can easily change and feel more comfortable. All you need to pack is a small, separate bag to carry your spare mask - but don't forget to wash the bag also when you put your used mask inside!
4. Do not touch your face
It's easier said than done but it's really important to not touch your face whilst wearing a mask. Think of all the areas you touch when you're in a supermarket for example - the trolley or basket, ATM machine, packaged foods, weighing scales, self-service scan - all of these surfaces are hot spots for germs, so we need to ensure that we do not pass these germs onto our face. This recommendation also applies to wearing gloves, gloves may protect your hands but they can still pick up germs.
5. Sanitise your face mask in-between
You can sanitise your face mask or covering in-between outings with the Viva UVC Wand. The Viva UVC Wand works by deactivating bacteria and germs so that they can't replicate and spread. The Viva is great for packing with you in your car, or handbag, and can be used to disinfect your face mask in-between shops. Pure genius in a wand! The Viva can also be used on surfaces and objects - why not give your trolley or shopping basket the once over with this nifty kit too?
6. Do not share a used mask
This is ever so important guys! Do not, under any circumstances, put on or share a used mask or face covering. Always prepare and pack your own mask with you. Do not risk sharing a used mask - germs and bacteria can live on surfaces from hours to days at a time and put bluntly, its just not worth it.
7. Wash or dispose after each use
After you have visited the supermarket, retail shop or convenience store, you must take care of your used masks properly. If you have reusable, eco-friendly masks or use scarves or bandannas, pop them in the washing machine, that way they will be clean and ready for your next shopping trip! Don't forget to wash the carry bag used to hold the dirty mask in - this too can be reused.
For disposable masks, you must throw these away with your household waste.
8. Breathe and relax
Face masks and coverings do take some time to get used to, but fear not, they're not that bad to wear - it's just a little extra covering that we need to get used to, for the time being. If you haven't worn a mask yet, try in the comfort of your home to wear one for 5 minutes, and then another 5 minutes, so you can get used to them. The most important thing of all is to breathe and relax when wearing a face mask. Deep breathing relaxation techniques from yoga will help (also available as videos online). And just remember, we are all in the same boat, we all have to wear masks and adjust to this new way of life.