Wearing a face covering

Wearing a face covering will reduce the risk of you spreading the virus if you're infected and are not yet displaying any symptoms. You must continue to follow social distancing guidance and continue to wash your hands regularly; a face covering does not replace this.

Read about when to wear a face covering, exemptions and how to make your own on GOV.UK.

How to wear a face covering

A face covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

When wearing a face covering you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on
  • avoid wearing on your neck or forehead
  • avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus
  • change the face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it

When removing a face covering you should:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before removing
  • only handle the straps, ties or clips
  • do not share with someone else to use
  • if single-use, dispose of it carefully in a residual waste bin and do not recycle
  • if reusable, wash it in line with manufacturer’s instructions at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser once removed

How to make a face covering without a sewing machine

Did you know that you can make a reusable cotton face covering at home using an old t-shirt or material and hair ties? We worked with local artist Gemma Nemer from The Way Station studio at Elsecar to create tutorials on how people can stand out from the crowd with their very own homemade face coverings.

Watch our tutorials to find out how quick and easy you can make face coverings.

Watch our video on how to make a face covering with hair ties.

Our procured face coverings

We’ve invested in 50,000 face coverings to kick-start our campaign and made them readily available for services and residents.

The face coverings will be provided free of charge and will be distributed: 

  • at the crematorium for those attending funerals without face coverings
  • through our 0-19 service as part of young person engagement
  • in public buildings for visitors
  • through community and voluntary organisations to target vulnerable groups
  • targeted at night-time economy so people can use public transport safely
  • in Barnsley town centre and Principal Towns
  • to council staff

Many recipients of our face coverings have said that they'd like to make a contribution after receiving one free of charge. We're asking those people to make a donation to Barnsley Hospital instead as a thank you for the fantastic work they've done to keep Barnsley safe and well.

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council and Chair of the Barnsley Outbreak Control Engagement Board, said: "Keeping our communities safe is our top priority. We're giving people a face covering so they have one to hand and can wear it in enclosed public spaces and on public transport.

Wearing a face covering will reduce the risk of people spreading the virus if they're infected and are not yet displaying any symptoms. It also really demonstrates our borough's Barnsley spirit. When I see someone wearing a face covering on public transport, when visiting our high streets, the markets or when they begin to use our services and healthcare settings, it's a visual representation of our solidarity to protect our communities.

We'll not be complacent in our approach, and we all have a role in helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the borough. We ask residents to do all they can to protect themselves, their families and their communities by adhering to social distancing measures, washing their hands, wearing a face covering and getting a test and self-isolating if they have symptoms.”

Washing instructions for our procured face coverings

Please read our washing instructions for our procured face coverings.

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