Wearing a mask: information for young people

What are masks?

Masks are face-coverings. They can be bought or you can make your own. They can be disposable (use only once) or washable.

Masks can help prevent the spread of coronavirus when people need to be close together. They only work when used properly. You will need to:

  • Wash your hands before putting it on
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the mask
  • Put it away in a clean place like a plastic bag when you’re not wearing it.
  • If you use a washable mask, you will need to wash your mask often.
  • If you use a disposable mask, place your mask in a litter bin after using it. Do not litter as it can damage the environment.

What if I can’t wear a mask?

  • You may not be able to wear a mask because of your health or disability, or because of how you communicate with others.
  • You don’t need to tell other young people why you don’t have to wear one if you don’t want to.
  • Remember to stick to other rules like hand washing and keeping your distance when asked.

What do I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?

They may have a medical condition or disability that means they don’t have to wear one. They have a right to privacy. Don’t ask them why they don’t have to wear one.

What if I’m still worried?

If you’re feeling worried, you can:

  • Contact Meic if you need advice and support. You can call 080880 23456 for free or use their webchat.
  • Contact Childline if you’re worried or upset. You can call 0800 1111 for free or speak to a counsellor online.

If you think you’ve been treated unfairly, you can contact our Investigation and Advice Service by calling 0808 801 1000 or send us an email.

What rights are involved here?

Under the UNCRC you have the rights to health and to survival. That’s why we’re taking steps to keep everyone safe from the spread of infection.

You also have the right to be treated fairly and supported if you have a disability. That’s why you cannot be made to wear a mask if your health or disability means you can’t.

You have a right to privacy. You don’t have to tell other people why you’re not wearing a mask.

You have the right to be safe. As well as keeping safe from the virus, you also should be safe from people teasing or bullying you for any reason. No-one should be bullied if they don’t wear a mask. No-one should be bullied for the type of mask they wear. Please let someone know if this happens so they can protect you.