February 11, 2021


European Countries Tightening Medical-Grade Mask Regulations

Some countries in the European Union are tightening their mask regulations by requiring medical-grade shields in public. The regulation changes were followed by announcements from Pfizer and AstraZeneca that their COVID-19 vaccine production had been delayed in the EU

The mask debate throughout the world has garnered a lot of attention since the COVID-19 pandemic began picking up steam last year. The research was flipping back and forth whether masks helped prevent the spread of the virus. The final jurisdiction was that masks were beneficial, so nearly every country in the world has utilized them to limit COVID-19.


Last week, public health officials in Germany enacted new medical-grade mask regulations in place. People in the country must wear medical-grade masks in public. KN95 or FFP2 shields are required when using public transportation or visiting stores in the country.

The FFP2 is a European mask that provides similar protection to the KN95. The growing concern in Germany was from COVID-19 mutations that had been arising all over Europe. They hope that surgical masks will limit these mutations in the country.

Bavaria had already introduced this regulation locally before Germany mandated it throughout the country.


On Monday of this week, Austria followed Germany’s lead. However, their regulations are slightly stricter than in Germany.

Germany’s medical-grade mask regulations are limited to public transportation and in shops. People in Austria must wear a surgical-grade mask when utilizing public transit, carpooling, inside businesses open to the public, and indoor and outdoor markets. The country is committed to this regulation. They’re distributing 1.2 million medical masks throughout the nation.

The government is also providing larger supermarkets with masks to distribute once the ruling goes into effect.


France hasn’t committed to medical-grade mask regulations at this point like Germany and Austria. The High Council for Public Health is now recommending surgical masks in public, but this is not mandated. This has sparked some disagreements in the nation.

France’s National Academy of Medicine questioned the High Council’s recommendation. They stated that general masks haven’t proved to be ineffective if worn correctly. Most likely, France will follow the lead of Germany and Austria soon.

With COVID-19 variants popping up all over the European Union, it wouldn’t be surprising if more countries on the continent started mandating either KN95 or FFP2 masks in public.

These additional mandates could cause an issue with the supply of medical masks. Frontline health workers need medical-grade masks, so this order may create a shortage for hospital employees putting their lives at risk every day.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that two-layered standard masks provide sufficient protection from COVID-19. The CDC discourages people in the United States from wearing KN95 masks because they want these shields to be reserved for people in the medical profession.

The World Health Organization has a similar belief. They claim that standard masks are fine for people under the age of 60. Although, people over 60 or at-risk individuals should utilize medical-grade masks.

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