From underwear to socks – the weird things used instead of face masks

Coronavirus has meant that face masks are now a part of everyday life for most of us but it seems some people have been getting creative with what counts as one.

Since wearing a mask or covering has become law, in a bid to combat the virus, they have have become as essential as grabbing your mobile phone, keys or wallet when you leave the house.

But this hasn’t stopped some people wearing underwear over their faces instead of a conventional mask.

Risk assessment company Protecting.co.uk asked UK residents what they have been using, or seen other people using, as a face mask or covering during the pandemic and the answers might surprise you.

What are the rules around face masks and coverings?

In the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth.

You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings.

You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.

Face coverings are largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

So, what has been the weirdest and wonderful thing someone has tried instead of a face mask during this pandemic?

  • Mark Taylor, Addingham: “In a pinch, I cut up an old sock and fashioned it into a unique style of mask.
    “It covered my mouth and nose, and I could breathe so it seemed ok to me.”
  • Mike Girling, Isle of Man said: “I don’t see the point in buying a mask if I’m honest, I just cover my face with my shirt sleeve or pull my top up over my nose.”
  • Anna Edwards, Uppingham said: “I’m going to be honest, me and my boyfriend only have one face mask between us and whoever needs to pop to the shops wears it.
    “And I don’t want to wash it because I’m worried it will put the germs onto my other clothes in the washing machine.”
  • Mr G Nichols, Birmingham added: “I swear on my life that I saw a lady walking out of ASDA with a sanitary towel stuck on her face as a mask.
    “I nearly fell over with shock in the carpark.”
  • Joanne Clarkson, Glasgow said: “I had a wee bit of an emergency situation when I got to the shops and realised I didn’t bring a mask with me.
    “All I had to hand in my car was a spare nappy for my 9-month-old, so I just kind of wrapped it around my head to cover my nose and mouth. I got some weird looks, but it did the job.”
  • Tom H, London said: “I see it all on the tube. Buckets, carrier bags, and even someone with a scuba diving mask.
    “I’m not even fazed anymore.”
  • Ben Brown, Nottingham added: “Underpants.
    “I just assumed it was some sort of protest.”
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