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Updated as of 25 Apr 2022

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


When must I wear a mask?

A:

From 29 March 2022, mask-wearing will only be required for indoor settings for persons who are 6 years old and above, outside of their homes. 

Mask-wearing will be optional in outdoor settings. However, persons are encouraged to continue to wear their masks especially in crowded outdoor areas, as masks reduce the expulsion and transmission of droplets, which is the predominant route of transmission of COVID-19. Masks also provide personal protection should there be contact with infected persons who have very mild symptoms or may not show any symptoms. 

Persons who are 6 years and above who are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 infection, such as fever, cough or runny nose, are required to wear a mask when they leave their homes.

Individuals may remove their masks while engaging in strenuous exercise indoors, but they must put it back on after completing their exercise.

 Why is mask-wearing now optional outdoors?
A:
Outdoor settings tend to be well-ventilated, hence the risk of transmission of COVID-19 is significantly lower.

However, for personal protection and to protect others, persons are encouraged to wear their masks even when outdoors especially in crowded areas.
 What is considered an indoor or outdoor area?
A: Indoor places refer to areas within buildings or enclosed places, and typically have clearly defined entrances/exits. Places which are sheltered but which are not enclosed at the sides and allow open access generally will be regarded as outdoor areas.

Some examples of indoors and outdoors settings are provided in the table below.

SettingExamples (not exhaustive)
Indoors: Mask-wearing required
  • Within office buildings, shopping malls, lifts
  • Within public transport such as buses and trains
  • Within hawker centres, coffeeshops, wet markets
  • Within HDB retail shops and other shophouses
  • Within classrooms and libraries
Outdoors: Mask-wearing optional
  • HDB void decks, HDB retail shop walkways, five-foot ways
  • Bus stops and naturally ventilated bus interchanges
  • Open unenclosed spaces such as parks, fields, nature trails
  • Open-air sheltered walkways and bridges

 

What types of masks should we wear?

A:

Masks with good filtration capability are recommended. 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.

 

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.

 

[Updated 25 Apr] Under what circumstances are masks not required in the workplace?

A:

Workers are allowed to remove their masks at the workplace if they are not interacting physically with others and if they are not in customer-facing areas.

Individuals are encouraged to exercise social responsibility and maintain an appropriate safe distance from others when unmasked.

 

Do motorcyclists need to wear masks?

A:

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

 

What will happen if I do not wear a mask when required?

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 when indoors?

A: 

Children of 6 years of age and above must wear a mask when in indoor settings outside of 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.

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.

 

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

A:

Yes, you may do so, but you must immediately put your mask back on after eating, drinking or taking medication. If eating outside your home, please ensure that safe distancing measures for mask-off settings are strictly complied with.

 

Do I have to keep my mask on at the gym and at fitness studios?

A:Masks are required to be worn for indoor settings, but may be removed when engaging in strenuous exercise, and then promptly put back on after. Please refer to Sport Singapore's website for details. 

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