The era of fancy fabric masks did not last long. Eight months to be precise. The government did not introduce everyday masks nationwide until the end of April 2020. By January of this year, they were largely replaced by FFP2s or surgical masks. Many were just beginning to make the most of it. This applies to both the wearer and the maker: the matching mouth cover and nose with your favorite summer dress? No problem. Very large, very small, for long noses, for short noses – they were hung on direct-sale garden fences or hand-sewn by Grandmother Erna to be sold in the doctor’s office. Soon there were also many professional providers – so there was virtually no limit to the selection.
Now all the pretty fabric masks are in the locker room, waiting to be used. What has to be done? On your way to the antique clothing collection or wait and see if you can wear them more often at some point?
In fact, everyday masks are already sufficient in some areas of some federal states. In local public transport and in stores, according to federal and state government guidelines, there is a requirement to wear a medical mask, but the exact implementation is up to the federal states – and this differs greatly. A few weeks ago, for example, Saxony was the first state to swing the requirement for masks in stores when the incidence was below ten. Rules also vary for children: in some countries, for example, they are allowed to wear everyday masks at school until a certain age.
The example of North Rhine-Westphalia shows how the whole can be fragmented: there everyday masks are required for incidence levels two and three, among others, in the markets of open air and in the parking lot of a store, with level one only queuing at the market. But: who wears a cloth mask first in the parking lot and then in the shop to put on the surgical mask?
Cloth masks will probably no longer be mandatory in a large area. But it’s probably worth keeping them a bit longer. Even though they catch viruses much worse than medical masks, everyday masks have a protective effect. And maybe after the pandemic, one or the other will want to voluntarily wear a fancy cloth mask on the subway or at a party when they catch a cold. According to experts, putting a cloth mask over a surgical mask can also improve efficiency. The quality of its protection depends of course on the density of the fabric, the fit of the mask and the number of layers that compose it. Whether the pattern matches the summer dress, on the other hand, is irrelevant.