Protective Clothing: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 15th April 2021.

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Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Labour, Ealing Central and Acton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to encourage members of the public to wear reusable face coverings during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The latest Government guidance on face coverings is provided at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own#when-to-wear-a-face-covering. It explains that many types of face coverings are available including disposable products and those made of breathable, washable fabric. We welcome the efforts being made by businesses and consumers to produce, sell and buy reusable alternatives which align with the guidance. The guidance also provides instructions on how people can make and care for their own face coverings at home.

Face coverings that are required in shops and a number of other settings are not the same as the single-use surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of their PPE. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace. Instead, the latest Government advice on face coverings provides instructions on how people can make and care for reusable face coverings at home using washable textiles, and is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering.

Reusable cloth face coverings are also available to buy from a wide range of retail outlets, including online.

The Government has published guidance on the disposal of face coverings and other PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. This is available at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste.

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