It’s been almost two months since we entered Phase 2 of reopening and many of us have started getting used to donning a mask when we’re out. Some of us have even started to invest in masks with better designs or functions to prepare to be in this for the long haul.
But while we’re getting comfortable with mask-wearing, have we learnt what we should be doing with our masks when we’re eating? We’ve seen people removing their masks completely and leaving them on the table, some tuck the masks under their chin.
But what’s the right way to do it? After all, masks aren’t just a fashion accessory or simply worn to make sure we won’t get into trouble with the law, but important tools to make sure we are keeping ourselves and others safe.
What to do with masks while eating or drinking
First, consider how wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is spread through the contact of respiratory droplets of an infected person. These droplets are typically produced when you cough and sneeze but can also be produced in large amounts when a person speaks. Wearing a mask primarily ensures that your respiratory droplets are kept inside the mask so that it is less likely to reach a person you’ve come in touch with. Its secondary role is to prevent any droplets from people around you to reach your mouth and nose.
As such, removing your mask and putting it on the table is actually very unhygienic. If you’re an infected person you may be leaving virus on the table, which can be picked up by the next person who uses the table. On the other hand, you may be picking up respiratory droplets from someone else onto the mask that you’re going to wear later, in direct contact to your nose and mouth.
Tucking it under your chin isn’t a good solution too. You’re transferring any droplets caught by your mask onto your chin area, which similarly defeats the purpose of wearing a mask to protect yourself and others.
There area few ways you can put away your mask while you’re eating or drinking: place a tissue on the table and putting the mask on top of it, keeping it inside a zip-lock bag or plastic bag (not to be reused), and keeping it in a storage case.
How you should be removing your mask
As simple as it might sound, properly removing your mask could require some technique! To ensure your mask’s durability, here’s a short step-by-step guide to reducing your risk infection by keep it effective.
- Ensure your hands are clean by washing them with soap! Or opt for any one of these moisturising hand sanitisers.
- Remove the mask slowly by holding the ear loops. Avoid touching the exterior fabric of your mask and your face.
- Clean your hands again.
Mask storage options
Now that you’ve removed your mask, be careful not to make contact with the coloured side and keep it it in a breathable space to prevent fungus or bacteria from breeding while allowing any trapped humidity to air out. While plastic bags and zip-lock bags are good options, they aren’t the most environmentally friendly. Portable mask cases and pouches have become more popular because they’re practical ways of storage while making sure that you are storing your mask in a socially responsible way.
Portable plastic cases
These sleek light-weight dust-proof cases will make a great addition to your purse where they’ll be certainly remain unnoticed until you pull them out pre-meal.
Just slide your mask right in and clip the top in place. Fitting up to five masks at once, these could also be used as a storage box to hold unused masks should you need a change in the middle of the day. Find these on Shopee for just S$4.65.
We’re obsessed with these insanely-cute Pokémon-themed cases too. They’re available in a huge range of designs with characters from Sesame Street and Winnie-the-Pooh. Pick these up on Carousell for less than S$7.
A similar Shin Chan version can be found here on Lazada. These adorable designs might just turn out to be the next collectible in this Covid-19 season.
Here is an option for a minimalistic storage solution that resembles a mini replica of a cloth purse. Made out of a light-weight fabric, this material ensures extra breathability for your masks to keep clean while you’re slurping away at your noodles.
There are two separate compartments on the back side large enough to store a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitiser. Ditch the handbag, these are uber-convenient for a casual meal out!
These are available in six colours.
Finding it a hassle to differentiate between your clean storage case and the one that holds used masks? This double-sided cloth pouch helps solve just that! You now no longer need to fuss between the two with this convenient separation.
Pick these up on Carousell for S$7.
Newly launched on 28 June, local brand Tracyeinny released their range of hand-sewn mask pouches in response to high demands from their customers.
These velcro-fastened pouches measuring 12.5x15cm are made of a premium cotton material with a soft inner lining to keep not just your masks safe but your hygiene essentials as well.
The brand has also been designing and producing their extensive collection of reusable cloth masks since the circuit-break measures kicked in.
Storage clip folders
If you’re looking for something even more efficient, here’s a swifter option that takes three seconds tops to safely stow your mask away. We get it, you just can’t wait to get to your lunch!
This malleable design acts as a protective covering by minimising contact with the fabric portion of the face mask, folding in on itself before utilising the elasticity found in straps of the mask to tie everything together securely.
The result is a neat rectangular block smaller than your credit card – it’s sure to fit in even the tiniest of pockets!
Snag this innovative product at less than S$1 each on Lazada.
If you’re a fan of the lovable characters from Sumikko Gurashi, these might be what you’re looking for.