Austria plans to ban coronavirus face shields

Austria plans to ban coronavirus face shields
Face shields are especially popular in gastronomy and beauty services. Photo: OLI SCARFF / AFP
Austria wants to encourage people to wear close-fitting masks instead of plastic face shields because authorities believe they do not offer enough protection.

The government wants to see the semi-open face visors often used by staff in restaurants and shops disappear  from use gradually, it has emerged

According to the Kurier newspaper, a draft of the new Corona Regulation, due to come into force on Friday, says that in future, visors will no longer be recognised as protective devices in Austria.

In principle, anti-corona masks must be “covering” and “close-fitting” wherever masks are compulsory.

In the explanatory notes it stated: “The background is consolidated evidence that face shields in particular do not have an aerosol-inhibiting effect compared to classical masks.

“Mechanical protection devices such as ‘face shields’ or ”mini face shields’ have thus proved unsuitable for preventing the spread of Covid-19 and are therefore now prohibited.”

‘Mini Face Shields’ refers to the chin shields, which are particularly popular with waiters and waitresses because they can be more comfortable than traditional masks.

Although Austria’s new coronavirus rules are coming into force from midnight Friday October 23rd, there is to be a short transition period for face shields so that people can prepare for the ban, reports the Kurier.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Austria’s new coronavirus measures

There will be exceptions to the rule for people who can’t wear close-fitting masks for health reasons.

In September a US study found that face shields offer the least protection against infection. The simulation showed that while coughing and sneezing blocked the forward movement of the droplets, the aerosols were still distributed around the visor in the room.

Other measures due to come into force in Austria include a minimum distance of one metre in public and making masks compulsory at all indoor and outdoor events.


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