Be responsible, always wear a mask when in public

The Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) is appealing to people to always wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth when in public and visiting a health facility. Businesses are also reminded to have visible signage at their facilities encouraging people to always wear masks. 

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We all need to play our part in keeping each other safe.  

Wearing a mask reduces the spread of infectious droplets, especially when someone speaks, coughs or sneezes, for diseases like COVID-19. The World Health Organisation and other experts are in agreement and advise anyone with or without respiratory symptoms to always wear a mask. 

The WCGH has worked together with leading independent scientists in South Africa, Professor Shaheen Mehtar and Dr Kerrin Begg, to provide clear advice for our clients on the appropriate and safe usage of masks – and who can use specifically what kind of masks where and when. 

“Mask wearing is an essential component to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. This should not be the only measure, but rather form part of the behaviours every person is taught about infection prevention, including distance and hand hygiene. We should embrace the concept of Ubuntu: I am because you are,” says Professor Heather Zar, an infectious disease specialist at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. 

Face masks or appropriate face coverings must: 

  • be worn at all times in public, except when you are having something to eat or drink; 
  • cover your nose and mouth to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets; 
  • be carefully taken off by the straps/strings/elastic bands and ideally be stored in a packet when not in use; and 
  • be thoroughly washed in hot water with soap after wearing. 

It is advisable for each person to have at least two masks, one to wash and one to wear. Face masks or other face coverings complement the five golden rules of good hygiene: wash your hands; don’t touch your face; keep apart; cover your cough; stay home if sick. 

We already have masked heroes: our healthcare workers. Let’s do our part to protect them and our loved ones by wearing our masks every time we leave our homes. Let’s keep each other accountable and encourage each other to be responsible and wear our masks.