Face Covering - Masks V Visors


It’s a hot debate and the out come of your decision can be life changing. So let’s give it the time that it deserves.

Face Covering is an essential part of our efforts to combat coronavirus. It’s up there with Social Distancing and Hand Hygiene.

Face coverings help to prevent people who do not know that they have the virus from spreading it to others. 

There has been much talk and wearing and not wearing face coverings. HABIC has long supported the UNIVERSAL wearing of Face Coverings. And now, it is a requirement under law in some instances and under HSE advice in others.

To be clear… here are the requirements and advice in the Republic of Ireland for the wearing of face coverings:

By law:

– you have to wear a face covering when you use public transport.

– Yesterday Aug 4th, Taoiseach Micheal Martin announced that the wearing of face coverings in shops and shopping centres will be mandatory from Monday 10th August. The news was confirmed by Mr Martin at a press briefing from Dublin Castle, where he announced Ireland will not move to phase four of the reopening roadmap on Monday.

Under HSE Advice, you should also wear a face covering:

– when staying 2 metres apart from people is difficult

– in a healthcare setting – this includes hospitals, GP surgeries, care settings, nursing homes and dental practices

– when visiting anyone who is more at risk from coronavirus – such as people aged 70 or over or people who are medically vulnerable

– in an enclosed indoor space with other people

Types of Face Covering

There are 2 basic types:

  • Mask/ Coverings – usually make from cloth
  • Face visors/ shields – usually made from plastic

Which to use? – Masks Vs Visors

Visors are used to protect the wearer from any liquid particles landing on one’s face, including the eyes and mouth. Visors provide a good level of protection but do not offer the same level of protection as a mask.

Masks, providing face covering over the nose and mouth can prevent minute particles in the air from being breathed in.

Ultimately, it is an individual choice what people wear. However our government promote the highest level of protection by encouraging the use of mask face coverings.

That said, the HSE states that there is no obligation on someone to wear a mask or covering of the nose and mouth if it makes you feel claustrophobic and causes upset. In these instances a visor / shield may be an acceptable alternative. Additionally if a person has communication difficulties then the use of a visor may be appropriate on that particular occasion.

For up-to-date guidance on the use of face coverings, please refer to the HSE.


When deciding what to wear in your place of work and as you go about your daily lives, this case in Switzerland is worth reading. 

Health officials in the canton of Graubünden studying a recent outbreak among staff at a hotel found a worrying trend – all of those who were infected wore plastic face shields, while those who avoided infection wore face masks. 

After a further review, the Swiss officials reiterated in late July that plastic visors are no replacement for face masks in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.  We encourage you to read this article as you decide on your face covering protocol for your business… it’s a short but informative piece. Read Article

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