Face Masks Or Shields Can Be Used, There’s Pros & Cons To Each

Now that ‘Circuit Breaker is drawing to a close, more people may begin heading back outside again. With the threat of infection still hanging in the air, you will still need to protect yourself when leaving home.

The Ministry of Health has stipulated in their Covid-19 FAQ that the general public can choose between face masks and face shields as a form of protection.

Here is what they said:

Any mask including reusable masks, DIY masks or plastic face shields, offer adequate basic protection.

MOH also clarified that plastic spit guards covering mostly the mouth are not considered masks.

Here’s a guide on things to consider when you’re choosing between face masks and face shields.

If you’re choosing face masks over shields

In this time, we are no strangers to face masks, as they protect us from droplets that may contain virus particles.


Serving as a barrier for wearers, face masks are only effective if both the wearer’s nose and mouth are covered. Gaps between the mask and user’s face should also be avoided.

While masks do protect users from larger potentially infectious droplets, some smaller droplets can still enter through gaps that are hard to prevent.


Needless to say, surgical masks are also much more portable and less clunky than facial shields.

Things to look out for if you choose face shields over masks

Now, while face shields are a less common option, you may still consider using them.

According to The Straits Times, they provide protection for the user’s mouth and nose, while going a step further to protect the eyes.

Worn on top of a mask, they also help prevent face masks from getting wet from the outside.


Unlike face masks, these shields can be cleaned easily and reused when needed as they are made out of plastic.

With face shields, your face will also be fully visible, so it’d be more like having a normal conversation for some.


However, without a seal for the face like face masks, aerosol droplets can still enter the user through the gaps at the side.

Options to alleviate global face mask shortages

With surgical mask supplies running low all around the world, face shields provide an effective alternative.

Surgical masks should be saved for necessary use, such as for our healthcare workers. Perhaps that is something to consider when you’re choosing between either one of them.

Regardless, do keep yourself safe and protected and adhere to necessary guidelines as we enter Phase 1 of recovery.

Featured image adapted from South China Morning Post and Business Insider.