Terms and conditions for the use of cloth/fabric masks
Fabric masks are not approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals. These frontline workers should only use proper face/surgical masks which are tested to medical standards and provide respiratory protection appropriate for the risks they encounter on the job. The public is advised not to use the masks needed by frontline workers in order to ensure the supply of such masks to healthcare professionals is not depleted and they remain adequately protected.
Fabric masks are not a replacement for other essential precautionary hygiene measures such as washing one’s hands and avoiding the touching of one’s face, ensuring that coughs or sneezes are directed into a tissue or elbow and that a social distance of a minimum of 1.5m from other people is maintained.
The wearer should ensure that masks are thoroughly washed and disinfected after each use. Masks can generally be disinfected by washing in soap and water. Alternatively, the masks may be soaked for at least 5 minutes in boiling water (avoid boiling whilst soaking). Masks should ideally be ironed which assists in keeping them sanitised. Check individual suppliers’ washing instructions.
Clear instructions must be provided on the proper protocol for wearing masks, including, as minimum stipulation, wearers should avoid touching the mask during use, and before application and after removal of the mask, proper hand hygiene is to be practised.
Worn-out or damaged masks may need to be replaced.
Parental supervision is essential when applying masks to children. Parents and guardians should be cautioned that masks are not recommended for infants as they may restrict breathing and loose ties may present a choking hazard.
Government guidelines make it mandatory for anyone travelling on public transport to wear a face mask and also strongly recommend that we all wear one when leaving home. On this site you will find a list of suppliers whose masks are locally made to industry standards. These masks play an important role in preventing the transmission of the novel Coronavirus and ultimately, the spreading of the COVID-19 disease. Citizens are required to wear these masks on essential outings including buying groceries, collecting medication, travelling on public transport or returning to work etc. in accordance with the National Disaster Management Act. These fabric face masks must not be confused with those manufactured to strict medical standards and which should be worn only by frontline workers.