The HSE would like to remind everyone that cloth face coverings or masks are superior to visors as a measure for prevention of transmission of COVID-19. Expert opinion and international guidance indicates that cloth face coverings or masks are more effective than visors.

Dr John Cuddihy, Director HPSC, said today:

We are grateful to all members of the public who are helping to suppress COVID-19 in our communities by taking daily protective actions. These include wearing face coverings, which help to stop the spread of the virus. Following a recent review of evidence, we know that visors are less effective than cloth face coverings, and yet we are all seeing visors being used day to day. So our message today is – please wear a face covering, and please don’t see a visor as ‘just as good’. It’s not just as good, and really only suitable for specific circumstances.

Face coverings are one part of a range of public health actions we need to take, including limiting our contacts, keeping physical distance, cleaning hands and covering coughs and sneezes. All the measures work together to protect people.

Cloth face coverings should be of multiple layers of suitable fabric and correctly applied. Further information on the handling and care of cloth face coverings can be found here:

There is evidence that visors reduce exposure to droplets to a certain extent compared with no face covering.

They may be an alternative in certain limited circumstances including:

  • People with breathing difficulties
  • People who are unable to remove masks/face coverings without help
  • Anyone with particular needs who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the mask/face covering
  • In settings where people who have learning difficulties or hard of hearing or deaf are present.

In the limited scenarios above where visors may be used, they should cover the entire face (above the eyes to below the chin and wrap around from ear to ear) and be correctly applied.

The HSE continues to work with our partners and stakeholders to ensure this important public health message is shared.

Brief Evidence Summary: Efficacy of visors compared with masks in the prevention of transmission of Covid-19 in non-healthcare settings

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