Despite wearing face masks or coverings being one of the most debatable, debated and hazy subjects throughout the pandemic, it was interesting to read your article (Mon 27th) on face masks, since the mandatory wearing in various shops, eateries, banks etc. from the Friday 24th.

My wife and I have been wearing masks in supermarkets, various shops, etc. for quite some time now, so we're used to it.

Re: finding them uncomfortable or 'suffocating', it's understandable if some people find them so, particularly with for any respiratory or personal reason.

It does take some getting used to if you've never worn one before (apart from maybe a face scarf in winter).

It depends on the mask material or type - the cotton ones I've worn are slightly thicker and less breathable (but washable and reusable).

However, the thinner cotton ones (like from Asda pharmacy) and the disposable (non-medical) ones are more breathable and comfortable, once you're used to them, particularly in warmer, muggy or windy weather.

More local shops and Saturday market stalls are selling them now anyway.

Re: touching them with dirty hands - just don't do that - wash or sanitise your hands carefully before you touch or put on your mask or covering - simple.

Likewise, after you remove it, and bin it or put it away for washing if reusable.

Also, you shouldn't touch the mask while you're wearing it at all - otherwise you'd contaminate the mask and your hands.

If you need to adjust it, just use your thumb and finger only at the top or bottom edge, to cover your nose or chin carefully, and not faff it around.

With practice, it gets natural.

This was explained by e.g. the BBC One Show Doctor recently.

I noticed in Asda that as well as essentially customers, more of the staff are beginning to wear masks now.

They apparently want to set a good example, even though a few on the checkouts and the pharmacy wear them anyway.

Good move them.

People seem to be a bit more careful with social distancing since last Friday too, possibly to do with the mask wearing?

Some writers have noticed similar things when out shopping, and essentially if two people (unrelated) are in close contact, both wearing masks - "I protect you, you protect me" from unknowingly spreading any infectious droplets.

With the dreaded virus still being around and so unpredictable for months, the science really seems to make sense, in this "new normal".

I really agree with some other sensible views, that the government should have mandated mask wearing in public places weeks ago, much more clearly and decisively, like other European countries that have been much more strict in lockdown than here.

Tony Heath