The global pandemic changed the world as we know it. As time progressed, most people believed that things will revert to normal, sooner rather than later. However, as it became evident that the pandemic is not going to blow over just like that, people eventually started to adapt to the new conditions.
One of the branches that felt the brunt of these changes was the travel industry. Even now, the rules are constantly changing from one country to another, and it can be difficult to keep track of it all. We decided to write this article for those who plan on visiting Europe in the near future, taking a closer look at the regulations regarding the types of face masks that are being used. Here’s are some things you need to pay attention to.
Simple handmade masks are not accepted everywhere
Handmade masks in time became a form of expression to some people, where all sorts of patterns and colors began to emerge. There are several problems with these masks that ultimately lead to them being banned in most countries in the European Union. First of all, the way in which they were tailored is always different, which means that don’t follow the set standards.
Furthermore, handmade masks can be created from different materials, some of which are clearly not intended for those purposes. For example, masks made from wool were strictly forbidden right from the start, and as the regulations became tighter over time, standardized masks were eventually introduced.
Surgical masks are deemed acceptable in many countries
Regular surgical masks that are usually colored green or blue and consisting of a thin material that looks like fleece are still used in many countries around the continent. Surgical masks are more valid compared to most handmade masks, as they prevent the easy transfer of viruses from one person to another.
What makes these masks problematic is the fact that they have to be changed frequently, as they become pretty much ineffective after a single use. Naturally, it is impossible to correctly monitor just how frequently people are changing these masks, which forced some countries to enforce the wearing of thicker masks that have special filters. Still, more on that in the next passage.
Some countries have stricter mask policies than others
Tight spaces, such as public transport, venues with big attendance and other public places where people stand close to each other are the most critical situations. Because of that, in an attempt to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the governments of many countries from the European Union were forced to react quickly and enforce protection classes for the masks, that would specifically determine which type of mask is acceptable, and which is not. The different types of masks are divided into FFP protection classes.
Certain countries such as Germany, even demand from people traveling in public transport or for those who are visiting supermarkets to wear FFP2 masks. Just to make things clearer, some of the most used masks that follow these protocols are the KN95 and N95.
The most important thing is still to wear a mask correctly
People who have masks, but refuse to use them correctly, without covering the nose and the mouth, can still be fined for their actions. We are aware that in certain situations, it can be a bit difficult to breathe with a mask on, but these rules are enforced to maintain everyone’s safety, and should therefore be followed at all times.
Of course, there are always some exceptions to the rule. People who have breathing problems can at times receive permission from the doctor not to wear a mask, but they need to have this document with them at all times.
We hope that this short article was able to help you, but we advise that you look into more details regarding the health protocols at the specific country you decided to visit. After that, all that’s left is to enjoy and have fun during your trip.