THL updated the mask recommendation – wearing a mask is now recommended for people over 12 years of age

Publication date 11 Jan 2021

THL has updated the recommendation on the use of masks for citizens. From now on, the use of face masks is recommended for those aged 12 and over. This is based on the recommendation issued by the World Health Organization WHO, according to which everyone aged 12 or over should follow the principles of mask recommendations for adults.

THL recommends wearing a face mask in the whole country. In the acceleration and community transmission phases, the mask recommendation applies to comprehensive schools from grade six upwards and to upper secondary and higher education institutions. In comprehensive schools, the recommendation will be implemented by grade, regardless of the age of individual pupils.

In the acceleration and community transmission phases, wearing a mask is also recommended for all work communities as well as in indoor facilities for recreational and voluntary activities, if several people work and stay in the same facility.

“Face masks are only one way of preventing the spread of coronavirus infections. In addition, it is of utmost importance that you maintain safe distances whenever possible, wash your hands, cough into your sleeve or a disposable tissue, and avoid touching your face. If you have symptoms, you should not go to work or school but should avoid social contacts and get tested for coronavirus immediately,” says Chief Physician Emmi Sarvikivi from THL.

Checklist for mask use

  • Try on different masks to find one that suits your face and that you can breathe through.
  • Make sure you have as many masks as you need during the day.
  • Carry with you a bottle of hand sanitiser and extra masks to switch out if necessary.
  • Wash or disinfect your hands before putting on a new or clean mask.
  • Place the mask on your face in good time before entering a mode of transport.
  • Make sure that the mask sits tightly against your face and covers your mouth, nose and chin.
  • Do not touch your mask or move it under your chin or on your forehead when wearing it.
  • If you touch the mask while wearing it, wash and disinfect your hands before and after touching it.
  • Do not put on a mask you have been wearing before. 
  • If your mask gets wet or dirty, replace it with a new one.
  • Remove your mask with clean hands by grasping the ear loops. Do not touch the outside part of the mask. 
  • Put a disposable mask in a rubbish bin directly after you have worn it and a reusable cloth mask to a plastic bag or directly into the washing machine.
  • Wash or disinfect your hands after taking off the mask.
  • Always wash your cloth masks in 60 degrees Celsius after wearing them or boil them for five minutes in water to which you have added a little bit of detergent. Rinse the mask and hang it to dry in a place with fresh air. 

Additional information

THL’s recommendation on the use of face masks for citizens

Questions and answers about face masks

How to wear a face mask correctly - watch the video! (in Finnish)

Information on surgical masks and respirators
(Finnish Institute of Occupational Health)

Information on cloth face masks
(Finnish Institute of Occupational Health)

Emmi Sarvikivi
Chief Physician
tel. +358 29 524 7105
[email protected]

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