Covid-19 France: Fines for wearing plastic face visors

Masks and visors do not offer the same level of protection against Covid-19, health authorities say, and you can be fined in France for wearing a visor instead of a mask.

8 October 2020
A woman wearing a full-face plastic visor. Covid-19 France: Fines for wearing plastic face visors instead of masksStudies say plastic visors alone do not offer suitable protection to people who wear them or those around them
By Joanna York

The Ministry for Health has said that plastic visors do not fit the specifications for obligatory mask wearing in France.

As such, people who wear plastic visors in places where face masks are mandatory could be fined up to €135 for not following the rules.  

In an interview with news source AFP, the ministry said: “A visor is not a protective mask so it doesn’t fit the regulations for obligatory mask-wearing. 

“These objects cannot, in any case, be considered as protective equipment for the person wearing them, or for the people they come into contact with.”

This statement includes both whole-face visors, attached at the forehead, and chin visors, which cover the lower-half of the face.

 

Visors can give extra protection, when worn with masks

Visors do not provide the same protective qualities as masks as they do not effectively cover the mouth, studies have shown.

A study published in the American journal Physics of Fluids on September 1, found that liquid droplets “can move around the visor with relative ease and spread out over a large area”.

This means if a person wearing a visor were to sneeze or cough, those around them would be poorly protected from a discharge of potentially infectious fluids. People who wear plastic visors are also poorly protected from the coughs and sneezes of others.

However, full-face visors can offer increased eye and nose protection. 

As such, they can be worn with a cloth or surgical mask as a complementary protective measure.  

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