A very divisive issue: face coverings!
From Friday 23 July, the government guidelines say they should be worn in indoor places and places where you cannot maintain social distancing.
Firstly, what is a face covering?
According to the Government website www.gov.uk: In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.
Where can I get a face covering?
As listed above, if you do not have a special covering there are still ways to cover your face.
There are many shops, online and offline, that are selling them as well as a lot of people in the local community. We have had a few people kindly make face coverings in return for donations to the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, helping us to raise money in this difficult time.
There are many guides online that show you how to make face coverings with various degrees of difficulty, including some we have previously blogged about. This website here shows numerous ways to make coverings without sewing and with things around the house: https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-make-a-no-sew-face-mask-with-at-home-materials/
During Paris Fashion Week they even had face coverings to match their outfits! Click on the link to read: https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2020/03/10/niqab-banned-face-masks-celebrated-paris-catwalk
Why should I wear a face covering?
Masks are designed not to spread Coronavirus, rather than protect you from catching it. It is absolutely essential you continue to follow the social distancing guidance and continue to wash your hands regularly. If you or a member of your household have symptoms of COVID-19:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
you must still isolate at home.
Exceptions to the face covering rules
You do not need to wear a face-covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
I have MS, is it OK for me to wear a face covering?
Having MS itself should not stop you from wearing a mask. However, some of its effects such as problems catching your breath, problems with speech or being unable to put one on may give you a legitimate reason not to. Ultimately everyone with MS is different and there are no hard or fast rules. And perhaps that's the hardest of part of everything right now?
If you are exempt, you can purchase a Hidden Disabilities Exempt card. Click here to visit the shop