Months into the pandemic, masks are finally being made mandatory in shops across England, with everyone being required to wear one from 24 July.
This new rule will bring England in line with Scotland as well as other major European nations that have experienced widespread outbreaks like Spain, Italy and Germany. This follows on from the rule that has made masks compulsory on public transport.
Now that everyone in the country will have to wear a mask no matter the size of the shop, demand for masks will probably increase again. While many have already purchased their own, there is always a chance to stand out from the crowd and make a fashion statement.
We aren't talking about Donald Trump and his mask, which had its own presidential seal but handmade masks, featuring all sorts of snazzy designs and patterns.
However, by trying to stand out from the crowd some people are putting themselves at risk of catching Covid-19.
This has been recently highlighted thanks to a new set of masks that users have begun selling on the e-commerce website Etsy, where 'breathable' and 'mesh masks' are being widely sold. The main problem with these masks, especially the mesh ones, is that the tiny holes that make up the material will do nothing to keep the virus out.
The discovery of these masks has led to outrage online with people asking Etsy to remove the masks from sale.
@Etsy is just blatantly allowing people to sell mesh face masks. Spread the word this shit shouldn't be allowed and… https://t.co/85iLbxhSQJ
Please RT. I rarely ever make callout posts, but this one’s for the sake of public safety. Some Etsy sellers are ma… https://t.co/WfqaydGsMz
— ☃️ 𝓙𝓾𝓹𝔂 ☃️ plushies ON SALE! ✨ (@☃️ 𝓙𝓾𝓹𝔂 ☃️ plushies ON SALE! ✨)
@Shattered_Earth Report these to @Etsy. https://t.co/AauxN0eFMT
— adult human mushroom 🍄 (@adult human mushroom 🍄)
It should be said that not all of these masks are being advertised as preventing the spread of coronavirus, with some clearly being advertised specifically for raves or festivals, whereas some can be worn over the top of more robust masks, as a decoration.
However, Insider reports that some sellers are advertising the masks as a 'novelty masks' which people can wear if they are opposed to the new rules on face coverings.
Speaking to Insider, a spokesperson from Etsy declared that they review all items that are deemed to violate their policies, adding:
Face masks sold on Etsy are not medical grade, and listings are not allowed to include medical or health claims. While we are not responsible for determining the efficacy of masks listed on our marketplace, we are committed to keeping our community safe and work to actively review and remove items that violate our policies.'