Face masks or face coverings are set to become mandatory in Ireland. While making them mandatory is a positive step for public health, it brings with it a risk of increased waste as a result of single-use, disposable masks. I’ve been testing out a reusable filtered cloth face mask produced by Closca Design. Here’s everything you need to know about face coverings in Ireland, Closca and their sustainable face covering.
When Should You Wear Face Coverings In Ireland?
Initially, face coverings and face masks were a recommendation. At the time, there was criticism of the stance taken because it simply wasn’t appearing very serious. As a result, it’s obvious when you pop out to the shops in Ireland that a lot of people don’t believe masks are necessary. Today, Covid-19 levels in Ireland are at a good place but as the country begins to lift restrictions there are fears of a second wave.
Public transport is one potential hotspot. Just this week I received an email from Irish Rail which said “social distancing from other customers and staff should still be practiced however our services are running at 50% capacity so distancing may not always be possible”. In this kind of scenario, it’s now recommended face coverings be worn.
- when staying two metres apart from people is difficult
- in shops, shopping centres or public transport
- visiting the homes of those who are cocooning
- by people who are being visited in their homes by cocooners
With face coverings set to become mandatory in these settings, where can you buy them?
Where To Buy Face Coverings
There’s a load of places to buy face coverings. It’s led to plenty of cottage industries popping up around the country. If you can, support local and buy one from someone in Ireland who’s donating profits to charity.
The thing is, you should buy a few masks. In a perfect world, you should be swapping masks as much as you do underwear. If you need more guidance than that (which is worrying) that’s daily.
Speaking of daily, you should also wash your mask daily which adds to the need to have a few more. Here’s how to care for your mask:
- Wash daily in a hot wash over 60 degrees with detergent
- You do not need to sterilise cloth face coverings. Wash it in a washing machine or by hand as you would any other item of clothing
- Wash hands before and after use
- Store in a zip-lock bag or pouch
My own approach is to buy a few cheaper face coverings but then also have a really good one. My really good one is made by Closca Design.
Who Is Closca Design?
Closca Design is a Spanish company producing sustainable everyday products. I’m currently testing the Closca Helmet, have a Closca Bottle and a Closca Mask. I’ll be totally honest with you, they’re not the cheapest brand in the world. But they do have a mission that justifies their price. Closca is big into design and sustainability. A phrase I’ve been using more and more lately is “thoughtful design” and that sums up Closca to a tee.
The Closca Mask
This review is all about the Closca Mask. A sustainable face covering that’s stylish and quite affordable. I mean that genuinely. Closca’s portfolio can be considered pricey but the mask is very fairly priced. Let’s dive in.
Where else would I start except with design. It’s great. Typically, cheaper face masks have loops that go around your ears. It’s not bad for a quick stroll around a shop but for longer use it’s quite sore. The Closca Mask has velcro which closes around the back of the head meaning it’s much more comfortable.
I do find that the mask is more likely to slip down my nose so it’s important you get it tight enough that this happening is minimised. If you do need to adjust the mask, remember to sanitise your hands every time you need to touch around your face.
The mask can also be folded up and stored in a pouch that Closca supply.
This mask is a non-medical face covering. But still, it offers a little bit more protection than many masks. Now, when I say protection, remember I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about those in your company. That’s what all of these masks are for.
The design of the mask means there’s less of a gap for your breath to escape. For example, if you’re on a flight and wearing an over the ear mask, quite a bit of your breath escapes over your left and right cheek. Not great if people are sitting beside you. That’s lessened with the Closca Mask.
While some masks on Etsy are offering filters, it’s also a feature on the Closca Mask. These filters can be washed up to five times and are neatly held in place with a dedicated compartment. These filters do offer some additional protection for you as they are capable of a 98% Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE).
Many masks on the market let you add some flair, particularly on Etsy. Closca Masks are more clinical (no pun intended). Personally, I like the clean colour choices and even more that you can pick a primary and secondary colour that matches your own preference. I’m a Kilkenny man which shines through a little.
Supporting Those In Need
While not particularly part of the review, buying a Closca Mask means you are supporting those in need. With the Closca Heath Hero Campaign, your mask purchase means you’re also donating 5 surgical masks to the most vulnerable groups.
Closca Mask: The Verdict
Masks are generally an imperfect solution to a problem that just needs a solution. Do I like wearing a mask? No. But I’m also not selfish. During a recent trip to Aldi me and my partner were the two of four people in a store of maybe thirty people wearing masks. It’s going to become more common that you need to wear a mask. So you’re going to need to invest in a few unless you are have a suitable medical reason not to. A genuine one far greater than “I don’t like masks”.
As I said, I’d recommend you pick up some cheaper ones locally and maybe invest in one really good one. If I was going to be in a scenario where I had to wear a mask for a few minutes, my cheaper one is great, maybe even better. However, for longer wearing or even a more social situation where I want a cool mask the Closca Mask is a perfect choice.
If I was to list why I love this mask versus other ones, it’s the design that tops the list. That’s assuming I’m comparing to other re-usable masks. When compared to single-use masks it’s the sustainability.
It looks like the masks are sold out for now, but it’s worth keeping an eye out to see if they come back. With filters they’ll set you back about €20.
Face Mask: FAQs
In certain circumstances face coverings are mandatory in Ireland from Monday 29.06.2020.
Wearing a cloth face covering is recommended in situations where it is difficult to practise social distancing, for example, in shops or on busy public transport. This is assuming you’re not in a category of people listed as an exception.
It early days when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of face masks with Covid-19. However, early indicators are positive. Wearing a cloth face covering in public may reduce the spread of the virus in the community. It may help to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets from people infected with Covid-19. Also, cloth face coverings may help to stop people who are not aware they have the virus from spreading it.
Ideally, medical face masks should be worn by those who need them most and these people know they should be wearing them. Generally, if you’re asking the answer here is no. Wear a non-medical face covering.
Yes, you can. The government has provided a guide on how to create your own face covering at home.