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face shield
Photograph: Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

Everything you need to know about using face shields in Singapore

The face mask is still a default if you're heading out of the house


By now, donning a mask when stepping out of the house has been a part of our 'new normal'. We expect this to continue for quite some time. As we enter Phase 1, the rules and regulations have also changed. While face shields were considered adequate protection during the circuit breaker, wearing one now without a mask might get you into trouble. Here's what you need to know about the use of face shields in Singapore.

What's the difference between a face mask and face shield?

The design of face shields typically leaves a gap between the plastic shield and the face. Face masks completely cover the nose and mouth and do not have such gaps. During the circuit breaker, face shields were allowed to be worn in place of masks. But with the re-opening of our economy and society, we can expect more activities and close contact between people, including on public transport. So from June 2 onwards, face masks are now the default and wearing a face shield in public is considered as not wearing a mask at all. 

Do I get a choice on whether I can wear a shield or a mask?

No. The use of face masks will continue to be the default and mandatory when people go outside their homes. Face shields will be treated differently from masks – and will be allowed only for specific groups or settings.

Who can wear face shields?

As of now, face shields are only allowed for children 12 years and below who are unable to wear masks for prolonged periods. Persons with health conditions causing medical difficulties when masks are worn and anyone speaking in a classroom or lecture-style setting – while maintaining a safe distance from others – are also allowed to use face shields.

In some settings like in schools or hospitals, face shields may be worn on top of a mask to provide additional protection. For example, wearing a shield can help to protect one’s eyes from droplets that may contain virus particles, and can also prevent the mask from getting wet. It may also help to stop people from adjusting their masks or touching their faces.

Any exemptions?

Yes. Persons doing television broadcasts are exempted from having to wear face masks or face shields. This exemption can continue, provided that the filming process is done in a safe and controlled environment. If you are filming or shooting a video outdoors that is not for television broadcast, you will need to obtain some official documents and permits.

My child needs a face shield, where do I get one?

Don't worry, pre-school and primary school students will each be given a face shield and hand sanitisers from their respective institutions when schools reopen with restrictions in place.

Anywhere else I can buy more face shields?

You can hit online shopping platforms like Lazada and Shopee for face shields. Be careful of inflated prices – a face shield for an adult should cost about $5 like this one from Lazada. Other than that, stick to the trusty face mask!

Read more on the different types of face masks you can use during this period or get a trendy cloth one from a local label

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