News Local Health Ministry: Further clarifications on use of masks

Health Ministry: Further clarifications on use of masks

With the first relaxation measures of the lockdown due on Monday, the Health Ministry has issued further clarifications as regards which groups of employees must wear masks.

For the general population, masks are optional, but recommended.

In an announcement, the Health Ministry also noted that a ceiling on the price of masks has been set by decree.

The ministry said that in the framework of individual protection measures and protection of public health, the use of a mask is an additional measure and it does not replace the implementation of other protective practices such as social distancing, hands sanitization, cleansing of surfaces, natural ventilation of places of residence and work etc.

For the general population, the use of a single-use mask is recommended and is not compulsory for citizens in closed spaces frequently attended by large crowds such as supermarkets, malls, retail sales businesses, pharmacies, banks, departments/services of the public and wider public sector that receive public, public transport vehicles etc.

With regard to the staff, the use of a single-use mask is compulsory for those working in:

-Public transport vehicles (e.g. bus drivers)

-Interior spaces of private businesses, departments of the public and wider public sector that receive the public, post offices, couriers, places where bills are paid (eg Cyta, EAC, local government)

People working in positions where they interact directly with the public in retail trade businesses (e.g. cashiers at supermarkets, pharmacies, farmers’ markets, retail shops etc)

Staff servicing the public in the food chain such as butchers, fishmongers, fruit shops, kiosks, mini markets, retail (eg clothes, shoes and cosmetics)

Distributors

Workers at construction sites should use single use masks when in a car (maximum of two in each car) or when using a lift.

The maximum wholesale and retail price of single use (surgical) masks has been set by decree dated April 15 at €0.70 per item (€27.37 for 50). Any violation of the decree should be reported to the consumer service on 1429.

Members of the public are urged to be particularly careful in choosing  masks. The recommendation of the scientific advisory team of the Health Ministry is that the appropriate mask for the general mask is the simple surgical mask.

As regards other masks (paper, masks with filter etc) these are do not serve the purpose of personal protection.

The ministry also recommended the purchase of masks from reputable points of sale. Buyers should also check for the CE certification mark that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area and that they are safely packaged.

The Ministry of Health would also like to reiterate the right way of using the mask:

1. The mask covers the part of the face that includes the peak of the nose, the mouth and the chin.

2. Before wearing or removing the mask, you have to wash your hands rinsing with water and soap or alcohol anti-septic solution.

3. Remove the mask starting from behind, you should NEVER touch the front part of the mask.

4. After use, dispose of the mask in a waste bin.

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