When it comes to COVID-19 restrictions, recommendations and regulations, it is essential that we all stay informed. The current situation is an ever-changing one, so we must all keep up to date with the latest developments and government responses to the pandemic.
When checking for the most recent, up to date information regarding how Europe is responding to COVID-19, the European FFP2 Mask Mandates is a key place to start.
What is the FFP2 mask mandate?The FFP2 mask mandate dictates that members of the public must wear medical-grade face masks in public places. It is a government response to the accelerating COVID-19 pandemic. Several European countries, including France, Germany, and Austria, have rolled out similar regulations to combat the recent spike in coronavirus cases, as well as to mitigate the effects of a more transmittable strain of COVID-19.
What is the difference between FFP2, surgical and fabric masks?
This directive makes wearing higher-quality, regulated face masks compulsory. Acceptable face masks will need to meet a ‘Category 1’ level of government specification.
To classify as an FFP2 mask, a face mask will need to successfully protect the wearer from breathing in over 90% of harmful particles that are present in the air.
The vast majority of homemade, fabric masks do not currently meet these specifications. While they do offer some protection to other people surrounding the wearer, these masks have a low efficacy rate regarding particulate filtration. Depending on the fit and fabric, it is estimated that most basic cloth masks are between 26% and 80% effective. Certain masks can have an efficacy that is at the higher end of this spectrum if they are composed of three layers (as is recommended by the World Health Organization). However, this is still not enough to give fabric masks the level of protection that is required to be classified as FFP2.
While a surgical mask provides wearers with more protection than a fabric mask, it does not possess the same efficacy as an FFP2 certified face mask. This is because it is not designed to securely fit on the wearer’s face. Surgical masks also have other drawbacks, most notably the fact that they are not as environmentally friendly as an FFP2 mask.
An FFP2 mask is by far the safest choice out of these three options, as it offers the highest level of protection against COVID-19. These masks successfully prevent the inhalation of particles that may be harmful to the wearer, while also preventing the wearer from emitting particles that could harm the people around them. As a result of these impressive capabilities, making FFP2 face masks mandatory is an obvious choice for governments in a pandemic scenario.