Islanders ‘strongly advised’ to wear face masks in Jersey

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People in Jersey are now being "strongly advised" to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces.

Health officials say face masks are an effective way to reduce the spread of coronavirus and now is the "right time" to urge the public to use masks routinely. 

The advice, though, falls short of being a legal requirement. 

Dr Ivan Muscat, the islands Deputy Medical Officer of Health, announced that there have recently been four cases with unknown sources. Jersey has also seen a cluster which is made up of three or more linked cases. 

This is not an unexpected development in the spread of Covid and is proportionate to the increase in viral transmission during the winter months. Masks are an effective way to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 and they are a useful addition to the other public health measures that are in place.

Dr Ivan Muscat, Deputy Medical Officer

Customer-facing staff at indoor spaces like banks, supermarkets and hairdressers will also be advised to wear face coverings. 

It is the community’s responsibility to continue with the good work already shown in maintaining measures and as this new guidance is introduced, we should all encourage and remind each other to use masks. If we can all continue to work together through this pandemic, we can reduce the spread on Island and avoid the need for stricter measures.

Deputy Richard Renouf, Health Minister

The government says guidelines were reviewed and discussed with the Chamber of Commerce and the main supermarket chains.

Can you be fined for not wearing one?

No, not currently. The government has issued this as advice rather than law. 

What are the best type of face coverings?

The World Health Organisation recommends using three-layer fabric masks. Medical masks are only recommended for certain at-risk groups. 

 Dr Ivan Muscat says “In a setting where masks would need to be worn for a long time, clear face shields may well be more convenient.”

Advice on how to safely take off a face covering:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing

  • Only handle the straps, ties or clips

  • Do not share with someone else to use

  • If single-use, dispose of it carefully in a waste bin and do not recycle

  • If reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

How do I make my own face mask?