Because wearing a regular face mask is just boring
Some people are ignoring safety advice drummed into them since childhood and are wearing plastic bags over their heads as Covid-19 face masks.
Since wearing one has become law in a bid to combat the virus, face masks have become just as essential as making sure you wear underwear when you leave the house, one health and safety company says. But some people ARE wearing underwear, just over their faces.
It turns out that not everyone is opting to wear a bog-standard mask when they are out and about, and Protecting.co.uk has found there are many weird and wonderful substitutes being used as PPE.
“People have become really creative when trying to follow face mask guidelines,” says Mark Hall, company spokesman for risk assessment company Protecting.co.uk.
“For some people, anything goes. And we mean anything.”
Carrier bags, nappies, and socks – oh my!
In January, we could hazard a guess and say that unless it was job-specific, owning or wearing a face mask didn’t even cross your mind.
But at this point in the pandemic, we have all become accustomed to seeing people wearing face masks everywhere we go that many of us have begun to not even really notice it anymore.
That is until we spot someone trying their best to blend in at the supermarket with something that is quite obviously not a regular mask on their face.
So, what has been the weirdest and wonderful thing someone has tried to pass off as regular PPE during this pandemic?
Protecting.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall asked UK residents what they have been using, or seen other people using, as a face mask.
- Mark Taylor, Addingham “In a pinch, I cut up an old sock and fashioned it into a unique style of mask. It covered my mouth and nose, and I could breathe so it seemed ok to me.”
- Mike Girling, Isle of Man “I don’t see the point in buying a mask if I’m honest, I just cover my face with my shirt sleeve or pull my top up over my nose.”
- Anna Edwards, Uppingham“I’m going to be honest, me and my boyfriend only have one face mask between us and whoever needs to pop to the shops wears it. And I don’t want to wash it because I’m worried it will put the germs onto my other clothes in the washing machine.”
- Mr G Nichols, Birmingham “I swear on my life that I saw a lady walking out of ASDA with a sanitary towel stuck on her face as a mask. I nearly fell over with shock in the carpark.”
- Joanne Clarkson, Glasgow“I had a wee bit of an emergency situation when I got to the shops and realised I didn’t bring a mask with me. All I had to hand in my car was a spare nappy for my 9-month-old, so I just kind of wrapped it around my head to cover my nose and mouth. I got some weird looks, but it did the job.”
- Tom H, London“I see it all on the tube. Buckets, carrier bags, and even someone with a scuba diving mask. I’m not even fazed anymore.”
- Ben Brown, Nottingham “Underpants. I just assumed it was some sort of protest.”
Hall: “To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park – just because you can do something, it doesn’t always mean you should do something.”
What are the rules?
While it seems pretty obvious that some people think that anything can be used as a face mask, there are actually important rules that need to be followed.
The government guidelines call for your mouth and nose to be efficiently covered, so long as you can still comfortably breathe, and that the face covering needs to be secure to your head.*
Masks also need to be clean every time you wear them, or correctly disposed of if they are single-use.
Hall: “We appreciate that the guidelines do leave a lot of room for interpretation, but it’s best to pick something that is practical and comfortable to best protect you.
“And for heavens sake please don’t share your mask – it literally defeats the point of wearing it.”
Protecting.co.uk also emphasise that wearing face coverings does not make you exempt from social distancing measures, these guidelines need to be practiced together to reduce the risk of Covid-19.
But if you’re one of those people wearing unusual items as a face mask because you’re out to score points for individuality and creativity, there are plenty of ways to be unique with a regular mask.
“You can find pretty much every style, colour, or cultural reference you can dream of on a face mask online,” says Protecting.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall.
“The best part is these masks are often washable masks which are much better for the planet than disposable ones.”
We can guarantee that you’ll look much better wearing a personalised mask to the shops than wrapping a nappy or a sock around your face.