Okay, just because you have been sporting masks for the past few months doesn’t mean you know the ground rules for good behaviour in our mask-wearing “new normal”... So, here goes:

1. How to wear – and care for – your mask

It should be self-evident that for a mask to be of any use at all, it needs to cover both the mouth and the nose. Constantly touching and fiddling with it is also advised against, as it risks transferring germs to your face.

And when was the last time your cloth mask met the inside of your washing machine? Experts recommend washing fabric masks following every use. You read that correctly. With disposable masks, the clue is in the name: don’t reuse them (and also kindly don’t throw them on the ground after wearing).

2. How to tell someone else they’re doing it wrong

If you see someone without a mask in a shop, what should you do? Risk a public confrontation or quietly tut and complain about it afterwards?

Neither. Approach the issue with tact and try not to shame the non-wearer. Experts have suggested gently pointing out that wearing a mask can help protect both them and others.

Another option is to have a quiet word with the manager of the place in question. Tell them you won’t feel safe shopping in their establishment unless they do their best to make clear to customers and staff alike that masks are required.

3. When to have the mask chat in home-based situations

What if a grocery/food delivery person comes to your home and isn’t wearing one? Try to pre-empt the situation by raising it beforehand.

Again, the softly-softly approach probably works best. You might want to say: “I will make sure I’m wearing a mask to protect you. Would you mind wearing one, too?”

4. When not to wear the mask you would usually be wearing

If it’s damp, stained, has already been worn and not washed, or has been borrowed from or by someone else.

All are breaches of good mask hygiene, and mean you need to find another one to wear, for it to be effective.

If all this seems like a palaver right now, don’t worry: you’re going to get plenty of practice over the coming months.

The Daily Telegraph

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