From June 15th, face coverings will be made mandatory on UK public transport but just what counts as a face covering?

It’s safe to say that life in 2020 has not gone quite according to plan for many of us.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a huge spanner in the works of ordinary life and on March 23rd, forced the UK into lockdown.

Now, the UK is – despite some warnings that it is too early – starting to lift the lockdown restrictions that we’ve been living with for almost three months.

June has seen the biggest loosening of the lockdown rules so far with more shops opening and fast-food chains quickly attracting huge queues as they reopen their drive-thru doors.

However, there are still conditions in place for us in the UK. As well as maintaining social distance, the public has now been told that from June 15th, face coverings will be mandatory on public transport and crowded places.

But what exactly counts as a face covering?

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Face coverings to be made mandatory on public transport

On June 4th, it was announced by the UK government that anyone wishing to use public transport will have to wear a face-covering from June 15th onwards.

Failing to do so could result in a fine.

The June 15th date coincides with the reopening of some non-essential shops.

The move comes after concerns were raised that social distancing guidelines could not be met by those on busy public transport.

Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

What counts as a face covering?

As part of the announcement, it was revealed that surgical facemasks should be saved for medical or clinical professionals and so a face covering of varying descriptions could be used instead.

Some examples that were given include:

  • Scarf
  • Bandana/Handkerchief
  • Homemade facemask

The Institute of Making suggests that whatever you’re thinking of using as a face covering, the piece of material must be able to cover your mouth and nose and prevent large droplets being exhaled into public spaces.

The thicker the material, the better it will prevent droplets being exhaled but you should remember that the covering must be comfortable to wear, allow you to breathe and will likely have to remain in place for several hours, so something you can tie securely around your head, to prevent you touching your face, is advised.

Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

What can be used to make a homemade facemask?

T-shirt material has been identified as one of the better materials to use in making your own facemask, as long as you don’t mind cutting up a T-shirt of yours.

Other than that, socks have even been suggested as a potential material, as well as bandanas or handkerchiefs.

There are a range of guides online on how to make a homemade facemask, from simple images to full YouTube tutorials and many don’t require sewing as the example below from Headspace demonstrates.

Remember, from June 15th, face coverings will be made mandatory on public transport.

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