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Updated as of 9 Jul 2021

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 [Updated 9 Jul 2021] Do I have to keep my mask on when dining-in at F&B outlets?
 Masks are required to be worn in F&B outlets. Diners should only take off masks when eating or drinking and put them back on after.

Why and when must I wear a mask?

A:

It is mandatory for all persons who are 6 years old and above to wear a mask when leaving their homes. Masks help to reduce the expulsion and transmission of droplets, which is the predominant route of transmission of COVID-19. It is therefore important for you to wear a mask, so that you will not spread the infection to others if you are infected. This is important even if you feel well, because you may be infected but asymptomatic.

It may be difficult for persons who are out in the community to avoid contact with others completely, including with infected persons who have very mild symptoms or may not show any symptoms. The wearing of masks is therefore an important precaution we can all take.

Everyone must wear a mask when outside of their homes. This applies on public transport, taxis, private hire cars, walking to or at markets, and also for permitted enterprise workers at all workplace premises, whether they are frontline staff (such as food handlers, cashiers and bus drivers) or performing back office functions (such as data entry personnel and payroll executives). Individuals may remove their mask while engaging in outdoor or strenuous exercise (e.g. running/ jogging/cycling, contact sports/games, static exercises and drills including taichi and qigong, brisk walking or walking up hilly terrain), but they must put it back on after completing exercise. Those walking at a normal pace would be required to wear a mask.

 

[Updated 14 Jun 21] What types of masks should we wear?

A:

All members of the public are recommended to wear masks with good filtration capability. These include reusable masks that are made of at least 2 layers of fabrics, and surgical masks. Single-use masks would typically report their filtration efficiency as part of their product specifications. Reusable masks such as masks issued by the People’s Association and Temasek Foundation also have good filtration efficiency.

A mask should be worn such that it closely and completely covers the nose and mouth, with the mask touching the cheeks and chin (i.e. without leaving a gap between the mask and the face).


Masks with exhalation valves (usually visible as a raised disc on the front or side of the mask), have a decreased effect of preventing the release of droplets from the wearer during exhalation, even if it does provide protection against disease transmission to the wearer. The public, especially those who are unwell with respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, runny nose), should not wear masks with valves as they may expose others to the risk of infection from droplets released through the valve.

The following specific groups of persons may use a face shield, in place of masks:

a)     Children 12 years and below, who may have difficulty wearing and keeping face masks on for a prolonged period of time;
b)     Persons who have health conditions that may result in breathing or other medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time; and
c)     Bride and groom during the solemnisation of their marriage.

A face shield must be worn properly so that it covers the entire face, from the forehead to below the chin, wrapping around the sides of the face.

Plastic spit guards predominantly cover the mouth and are not considered as face shields or masks.

Face coverings such as neck gaiters, bandannas, scarves or handkerchiefs are not considered as masks.

* Bacterial filtration efficiency is a measure of the degree of barrier protection provided by a material or fabric. This is often indicated on the packaging or product description of masks being sold.

 

[Updated 14 Jun 21] Why are only specific groups allowed to wear face shields instead of masks? A face shield is more comfortable, and allows me to breathe more easily. Can I use a face shield instead of a mask?

A:

While a face shield provides a barrier over the wearer’s face, its design typically leaves a gap between the face shield and the wearer’s face. Masks that closely and completely cover the nose and mouth do not have such gaps. 

COVID-19 is spread predominantly through droplets, masks will be a default when persons need to leave their homes.


In which settings will face shields be allowed in place of masks?

A:

Face shields should not be used as a substitute for mask wear, except for medical exceptions; or where the child is 12 years or younger; or for the marriage couple during the solemnisation of their marriage.

 

Must I wear a mask throughout the day at work, for example, if I am at a work cubicle?

A:

Everyone should wear a mask when they are outside their homes. This includes while they are at the workplace.

However, if an individual is alone in his or her own office with the door closed, and no other person enters the room, the individual may remove his or her mask in the room. If the room door is opened or if there is any contact with people, a mask must be used.

 

Do motorcyclists need to wear masks?

A:

Motorcyclists are not required to wear a mask while riding. Masks should be worn when not riding, as is the case for everyone else when they go outside their homes.

 

[Updated 2 July 2021] Must I wear a mask even while exercising?

A:

Everyone must wear a mask when outside of their homes. Individuals may remove their mask while engaging in strenuous exercise (e.g. running, jogging, cycling, contact sports/games, static exercises and drills including taichi and qigong, brisk walking or walking up hilly terrain), but they must put it back on after completing exercise. Those walking at a normal pace would be required to wear a mask.

 

What will happen if I do not wear a mask?

A:

First-time offenders will be issued composition offers of $300, and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases.

 

Must infants and young children wear a mask?

A: 

Children of 6 years of age and above must wear a mask when leaving their homes. If there is difficulty wearing and keeping face masks on for a prolonged period of time, children 12 years and below may use face shields in place of masks.

To protect young children below the age of 6 years, we continue to strongly encourage young children to wear a mask or face shield, especially when they need to be in a group setting or when interacting with others (e.g. in preschools). Children who may not have the coordination necessary for the proper use of masks or face shields should be supervised by an adult when doing so.

Mask-wearing is not recommended for children below the age of 2 years for child safety reasons.

Medical experts have also advised that some groups may have difficulties, including children with special needs and we will exercise flexibility in enforcement for these groups.

 

I tend to have shortness of breath and wearing a mask will make the problem worse. Can I be exempted?

A: 

If you have underlying conditions, you may be more vulnerable to serious COVID-19 infection. You should stay at home as much as possible, and avoid going out unless necessary.

To protect yourself and others, you are recommended to wear a mask when leaving the house.

Face shields could be used in situations where individuals have health conditions which may result in breathing or other medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time. Safe distancing measures such as maintaining at least one metre distance from all persons must be observed.

 

Can I remove my mask to eat, drink, or take medication?

A:

Yes, you may do so, but must immediately put your mask back on after eating, drinking or taking medication. If eating outside your home, please ensure that safe distancing measures are strictly complied (e.g. maintain physical separation with others while eating) with.

 

Can I remove my mask to smoke outside?

A:

You must put on a mask when you leave your home. You should always observe the one metre safe distance from others while smoking, and must put your mask back on immediately after smoking to protect yourself and others around you.

 

[Updated 9 Jul 21] Do I have to keep my mask on at the gym and at fitness studios? How about at beaches and playgrounds?

A:Masks are required to be worn when outside one’s own home. This includes all these venues.  Masks may however be removed when engaging in strenuous exercise, and then promptly put back on after. Please refer to Sport Singapore's website for details. 
 

Do I have to wear a mask when visiting other peoples’ homes? 

A: 

Masks are required to be worn when outside one’s own home. Household visitors are strongly encouraged to observe safe management principles when visiting other peoples’ homes. This includes wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance of at least one metre from others, minimising physical contact and washing our hands regularly. Do not visit if you are unwell.

 

Can face masks used for COVID-19 be used against haze exposure?

 

During the current COVID-19 situation, the use of a face mask is mandatory when people go outside their homes. This continues to apply should the forecasted air quality be in the Hazardous range (PSI >300);

Normal surgical masks, unlike N95 masks, are not effective in filtering fine particles (i.e. tiny particles that are 2.5 microns or less in width) present in haze; an N95 mask should be used instead for a haze situation. 

In general, a healthy individual who has to be outdoors for several hours may wear a N95 mask instead of a conventional face mask to reduce exposure when the forecasted air quality is in the Hazardous range (PSI >300). N95 masks are not needed in indoor environments, and not needed for short exposure when outdoors, like commuting from home to school or work, travelling from bus-stop to shopping mall.


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