Face Mask: Do I Have To?


As of today, the 1st of July, we have finally returned to normality, and all preventative measures have come to an end. Social distancing restrictions are eased, however, the situation regarding the use of face masks remains somewhat unclear. While some are adamant we still need to wear them, others are saying they’re no longer a necessity. Well, are they?

Strictly speaking, the use of face masks is no longer compulsory. There is no direct government rule ordering citizens to make use of a face mask at all times, however the government should not have to mandate common sense.

While it seems as though the first wave of COVID-19 has subsided, it would be foolhardy to say that the risk of infection has disappeared altogether. Certain businesses, like large supermarkets, have taken to instituting their own face-mask policy, often outright refusing entry to patrons without one.

Gadgets asked local DJ Carlo Gerada and TV personality Claire Agius Ordway for their takes on the situation. Due to the nature of his livelihood, we asked Carlo about wearing face masks at parties. “I guess, to a certain extent, it defeats the purpose if I’m the only person wearing a face mask, even though I may be reducing the risk of infection for others. It would help if wearing face masks during parties was mandatory, but enforcing control over a crowd for this measure seems unrealistic,“ he says. Carlo points out that “In supermarkets and places of close proximity however, I think face masks should always be worn. For people who have breathing difficulties, other alternatives like face shields are more suitable replacements.”

While maintaining that she is no expert in this regard, Claire Agius Ordway says she is definitely fed up of wearing face masks. “There are places which, in my opinion, are less safe which do not strictly mandate you to wear a face mask, and yet when we need to buy daily needs or purchase clothes, we still have to wear them. I would rather leave it up to the professionals, but if it were my choice, I’d opt not to use it,” she says. Claire holds that respecting minimum social distancing should be enough to stop the use of face masks. “Despite this, we need to be cautious for those who are more vulnerable than we are,” she believes.

Singer Christabelle also points out that face masks should be worn in confined spaces, like on public transport. “Even though masks don’t need to be worn on the street if social distancing is adhered to, they should be worn when there is close contact with other individuals for an extended period of time.”

Actress Taryn Mamo Cefai believes that all precautions are beneficial in the long run, and points out that with Malta opening up its borders again, we need to be even more vigilant. “With the days getting hotter, it may seem suffocating at times, but there’s a much higher risk in confined spaces so why risk our health and the health of those we love?” She feels that people wearing their face mask is love in action. “People have lost jobs over this. Some have lost their businesses. And some have lost their lives. All the more reason to take a moment, pick up your mask on your way to the store, keep your distance, wash your hands and be the bigger person. Taryn believes that our future depends on this current discomfort.

The wearing and use of a face mask is not compulsory, but we here at Gadgets strongly urge all members of the public to be wary of close contact, and to take the precautions necessary for the safety and well-being of themselves and their families.