Editorial

Should face masks be compulsory?

June 21st, 2020 11:40 PM

By Southern Star Team

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CONTROVERSY over the wearing of face masks in public places while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to threaten our health and wellbeing rages on in Ireland. Experts are divided on their efficacy, as wearing a face mask does not necessarily protect the wearer from contracting the dreaded conronavirus; they are meant to stop the wearer from spreading the virus if they have it.

Logically, therefore, if everyone wore a face mask, they would not spread the virus through the air to another person, but not everybody will wear them and there are many other ways it can be transmitted, including from unsanitised door handles and other surfaces. If wearing face masks was made compulsory, there would be an onus on the government to provide every household in the country with a supply of them, which would be a mammoth undertaking.

As things stand, the easing of restrictions has seen many people letting down their guard as regards the recommended two-metre social distancing rule with shops and public transport beginning to get busier. If public demands to reduce social distancing to one metre, in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines, are acceded to, then face masks will probably need to be brought more into play.

Mandatory wearing of face masks is likely to be considered a step too far and the government has just started strongly encouraging people to wear them. There also needs to be an education campaign on how to use them properly.

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