On Monday, the Ministry of Health will order the wearing of FFP2 respirators, nano-filtered face masks or two surgical facemasks in public transport and other public places, said Minister of Health Jan Blatný (ANO) after the government meeting.
Home-made face masks or scarves will no longer be acceptable.
“The list of places will be specified on Monday in a new decree,” he added.
FFP2 masks – also known as respirators – have higher filtering capabilities than surgical masks, and since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, they have been mostly set aside for frontline health workers most exposed to aerosols, or tiny airborne particles of the virus.
From Monday, February 22 on, if you get on a bus, train or tram, you need to wear a so-called “medical mask”. It is also recommended that you wear a medical mask in any situation where you might have sustained or close contact with other people – for example, at work, or in busy outside areas.
What’s the difference between surgical masks, fabric masks and FFP2 masks?
Disposable face masks, such as surgical or medical masks (pictured in the main photograph), are not respirators and do not protect the wearer from breathing in small particles, gases, or chemicals in the air. They act as a protective barrier to prevent splashes, sprays or large droplets from entering the wearer’s mouth and nose.
Respirators protect wearers from breathing in hazardous contaminants in the air. They protect against particles in the air, possibly also against aerosols. They are made of several layers of fabric and paper and have built-in filters. FFP2, FFP3 and N95 masks are said to be more protective than fabric masks or surgical masks.
‘Everyday’ masks or fabric masks
Fabric masks usually have no filtering effect. They are less safe than surgical masks, but can still help prevent the spread of viruses. The more layers the fabric masks are made of, the safer they are.
The following applies to all masks: they do not offer 100 percent protection against viruses. Experts therefore warn against a false sense of security. It is not only the type of mask worn that is important, but also the behaviour of the wearer – so remember to keep distance even if you’re wearing a mask.