Face coverings: Do’s and Don’ts

What is a face covering and why do we need it?

Face coverings are an important part of keeping us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Face coverings keep those around you safe, as it stops respiratory droplets from spreading when you talk, breathe, cough or sneeze.

The main goal of a face covering is to prevent you from spreading the virus to other people, so it’s important that we all wear them when we cannot maintain a 2m distance from others to keep us safe. However, to make sure you are keeping others safe, you must be wearing your face covering correctly, and to protect yourself you must know how to correctly remove and take care of your face covering.

How to put on a face covering and remove it correctly:

If you are unsure how to correctly put on and remove a face covering, follow these steps:

WHO - How to wear a face covering safely
1. Wash your hands before putting on your face covering

2. Place the face covering over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin, using ONLY the ear loops/ties. For ear-loop style coverings, secure ear loops behind the ears. For tie back style coverings, secure upper ties first behind your head, then secure lower ties behind your head.

3. Make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face. Tip: If your glasses fog when you’re wearing your face covering, your face covering does not fit well. Too much air is escaping.

4. Always put the same side of a reused face covering against your face.

5. Keep your face covering on when in shops and public areas, and within 2m of other people.

6. To remove the face covering correctly, remove the face covering slowly and carefully WITHOUT touching the outside of it, or your eyes, nose or mouth. Remove ear loop coverings by holding the ear loops. Remove tie back face coverings by untying lower ties first and upper ties last; ensure the ties don’t fall into the inside of the covering.

7. If you plan to reuse the face covering, place it in a bag until you can wash it.

Dos and don’ts of wearing a face covering:

So now you know the basic steps – time for some Do’s and Don’ts:


1. DO wear the face covering whenever you go out in public, even if you think you will be able to maintain social distancing

2. DO Make sure you find a face covering that is breathable, so you are able to wear it for as long as you need to

3. DO make sure your face covering fits snugly against your face and covers your nose AND mouth with no gaps (even a tiny gap could allow you to spread the virus)

4. DO wash your hands before you put on your face covering, every time you touch it and immediately after removing it.

5. DO (if you are using a cloth covering) wash it after each use and dry it thoroughly. This will also prevent spots.

6. DO have several face coverings so you can alternate. This means you will always have a clean covering available if you need one.


1. DON’T wear a face covering with a valve as they do not prevent the spread as well as a face covering.

2. DON’T put the face covering around your neck or up on your forehead as you will contaminate it and you could catch the virus. For example, when you talk you should keep the face covering on, and when you eat or drink you should remove the covering completely and correctly beforehand.

3. DON’T touch your face covering while wearing it, and, if you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitiser to disinfect

4. DON’T put a face covering on a young child under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing

5. DON’T wear a face covering that hasn’t been cleaned thoroughly, or that is dirty or damaged. Not only will wearing a dirty covering increase your chances or getting and spreading the virus, it can also create problems for your skin.

6. DON’T let the face covering provide a false sense of security. You can still get infected by touching your eyes (which aren’t protected by a face covering)

7. DON’T touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

Don’t forget about physical distancing and other safety measures:

Wearing a face covering is important but remember to also abide by the other safety measures that are in place to protect us. Continue to stay at least 2m away from others when possible, wash your hands often and be aware of your surroundings.

If you feel sick in any way, have a fever, are coughing or are showing any other symptoms of coronavirus, stay home for two weeks.

To find out more about the government guidance and what you can and cannot do, click here.
And to find out what measures the University has introduced, visit our website. 


If you are having trouble wearing a face covering, due to breathing difficulties or another impairment, there is lots of support available to you and lots of guidance on how you can keep others safe when you are out and about.

Mind Charity has lots of information for those who struggle to wear a face covering due to anxiety and other mental health problems. You can find their tips and advice about wearing a face covering for those with mental health issues here.

NHS website provides support for all of those who are unable to wear a face covering. You can find out about the support they offer and read about exemption cards here.

If you are worried about not being able to wear a face covering when we return to campus, there is lots of support available to you so please don’t worry!
If you have any concerns, please contact deanofstudents@herts.ac.uk.


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