Cloth Face Masks

As of 1 May 2020 any person leaving their homes in South Africa must wear a cloth face mask. This has been passed as a Covid-19 lockdown regulation. That means that until we are instructed otherwise this is the law.

Why are we Being Asked to Wear a Face Mask?


International best practice has shown that wearing a face mask, in conjunction with other safety precautions, vastly reduces the risk of person to person infection with the coronavirus.

Both the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the South African National Department of Health (NDoH) have recommended the use of cloth face masks.  

This must be used in conjunction with other measures, as on its own the cloth barrier does not prevent the virus from leaving an infected person.  It does however reduce the amount.  And when coupled with other recommendations vastly improves your chances to avoid contracting the virus.

Shield Face Masks to curb the spread of Covid-19.

When Should I Wear a Face Mask?


Under the newly released government COVID-19 lock down regulations any person leaving their home must wear a cloth mask.

This will include individuals going to the shops to buy groceries and other essentials.  Children returning to school.  Or essential workers on their way to work.

Simply stated – any time you leave your home you must wear a cloth mask for the duration of the time that you are no longer on your property.

What Face Mask Should I Wear?

Do not buy surgical masks, or N95 masks.  

These need to be left for essential health personnel, who are working at the front lines in our fight against Coronavirus.

Please do not buy these, even if you find them on offer.  

You need to use a cloth face mask that you buy, or make yourself.  

What is the Best Cloth Face Mask to buy?

The CDC says a Cloth face mask should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

The South African government has recommended that the mask be three layers.  This can be sewn with three layers, or have a pocket in the middle to insert a removable filter.

How do I Wear my Cloth Face Mask?


The NDoH recommends the following:

  • “Only use a mask that has been washed and ironed.
  • Wash your hands before putting the mask on.
  • Place the mask with the correct side facing your face, and ensure that it covers both your nose and mouth properly.
  • Tie the strings behind your head, or if you are using elastic bands, make sure these are tight.
  • Make sure it fits well.  Move it around to get the best fit.  Never touch the cloth part.
  • Once you have put the mask on, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE again until you take it off.
  • When you take it off, under the ties, and carefully fold the mask inside out, hold it by the strings/elastic and place the mask in a container researched for washing the cloth mask.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and dry before doing anything else.
  • Wash the cloth masks with warm soapy water and iron when dry.
  • You must have at least two cloth masks per person so you will be able to wash one and have a clean one ready for use.
  • Masks should be washed with soap and hot water, rinsed thoroughly and ironed.”

Where can I buy a Cloth Face Mask?


Our partners at Together We Pass have launched a unit to make cloth face masks.  Their aim is to create jobs, pay salaries, and create beautiful, functional cloth masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our country.

They offer a variety of styles, and fabrics.  Prices range from R50 to R80.  They currently courier countrywide.  If you are in Cape Town you can arrange a collection if you prefer.

You can buy the following masks:

Help do your bit in the current pandemic, and make sure you are wearing a cloth face mask every and any time you go out.

Last Updated: 6 December 2021