Face Mask FAQs

Some faqs about face masks.

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Do I have to wear a mask in the Memorial Centre?

Yes you do. We are a public indoor venue and come under the same sort of class as a library, bank, shop, health and sports complex, theatre or solicitors etc.
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What sort of face masks are acceptable?

You can wear almost any sort of face covering, such as a single use – disposable mask, cotton – washable and re-useable mask, bandana, scarf, religious face covering or if you really feel you can’t cope with a mask you can wear a face shield instead which doesn’t restrict your breathing in any way but will stop the forward velocity of vapour droplets. However, a face mask is still preferable.
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Is there a government approved mask that I can make myself?

Yes – you can find all the details here
The pattern they show is for a two layer cotton mask gathered at the sides with elastic to go around the ears. However, although this is the one they show and it is perfectly acceptable, they do recommend (in their latest updates) a three layer mask. They haven’t updated their pattern. They also give a link to the Big Community Sew where they show you how to make a pleated mask and a shaped one.
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What sort of mask should I avoid?

Don’t wear masks with valves!
The whole point of wearing a mask is not so much to protect yourself but to protect those around you. So you need at least two layers of fabric. This protects you a little when you breathe in from germs, also from dust and diesel particulates in the air. It protects people around you a lot from the full force of the breath you exhale. Your breath flies out of your mouth and nose with a great deal of force in a large spray full of minute droplets of saliva, especially when you speak and can easily reach up to 2 metres and a lot further if you shout, cough or sneeze. By wearing a mask you reduce the distance that your germs and vapour droplets can travel forwards. Some will obviously still escape but these will mostly  be downwards and sideways.
A mask with a valve is only for use while cycling to protect you from diesel particulates and dust or if you are doing paint spraying, sanding or other dusty jobs.
How the valve works.
The valve closes when you breathe in so that the fabric of the mask becomes the filter and opens when you breathe out so that your breath can escape freely and unfiltered. So for this reason a valve mask is not considered to be considered as a COVID acceptable one.
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I am pregnant – Do I still have to wear a mask?

Yes you do. There is no evidence that wearing a mask during pregnancy, will cause an adverse effect, in fact you will be expected to wear one when you have hospital appointments although you will be allowed to remove it in the later stages of labour.
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I have asthma – Do I still have to wear a mask?

Yes you do – There is no evidence to suggest that wearing a mask causes any adverse effects. Although there are several articles around that suggest there might be, such as breathing in too much Co2 or restricting the amount of oxygen you breathe in. Neither of these supposed facts are true. Doctors wear a much thicker type of medical mask for very long periods of time every day and it has been proven that their oxygen levels are not compromised. In fact one doctor went so far as to wear twelve masks all day as a test. His oxygen levels were the same before he put them on as they were just before he removed the masks.
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Full list of government exemptions.

When you do not need to wear a face covering

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • employees of indoor settings (or people acting on their behalf, such as someone leading part of a prayer service) or transport workers – although employers may consider their use where appropriate and where other mitigations are not in place, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines
  • police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public
  • where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others – including if it would negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:

  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, for assessing health recommendations (e.g. by a pharmacist), or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
  • if required in order to receive treatment or services, for example when getting a facial
  • in order to take medication
  • if you are delivering a sermon or prayer in a place or worship
  • if you are the persons getting married in a relevant place
  • if you are aged 11 to 18 attending a faith school and having lessons in a place of worship as part of your core curriculum
  • if you are undertaking exercise or an activity and it would negatively impact your ability to do so
  • if you are an elite sports person, professional dancer or referee acting in the course of your employment

Face coverings are not required in restaurants with table service, bars and pubs. If other indoor premises have a café or seating area for you to eat and drink, then you can remove your face covering in this area only. You must put a face covering back on once you leave your seating area. If removing your face covering to eat or drink in an indoor premises with a café or designated seating area, then you can remove your face covering in this area only.
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Excellent article about masks in Which News