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BA - Face shield acceptable in place of mask?

BA - Face shield acceptable in place of mask?

Old Jul 15, 20, 8:10 am
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BA - Face shield acceptable in place of mask?

The OH really struggles with her mask, way beyond the point of discomfort to getting quite panicked and claustrophobic when wearing it. Equally she fully appreciates the community benefits of wearing a face covering. She has purchased a couple of plastic face shields which are much less stressful for her. Are these considered acceptable by HAL and BA in lieu of a mask? The BA website references face mask whereas other UK transport options (guided by the law) state face covering.

PS I’m searching for guidance not a debate on the rights and wrongs of mask/shields etc 😊

Last edited by Swanhunter; Jul 15, 20 at 8:16 am
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Old Jul 15, 20, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
The OH really struggles with her mask, way beyond the point of discomfort to getting quite panicked and claustrophobic when wearing it. Equally she fully appreciates the community benefits of wearing a face covering. She has purchased a couple of plastic face shields which are much less stressful for her. Are these considered acceptable by HAL and BA in lieu of a mask? The BA website references face mask whereas other UK transport options (guided by the law) state face covering.

PS I’m searching for guidance not a debate on the rights and wrongs of mask/shields etc 😊
I went through Heathrow yesterday. Some HAL staff wearing those shields instead of masks, one person wearing both that I saw. I think that would be perfectly logical and acceptable. A shield covers the mouth and nose, arguably more effectively than some of the homemade face coverings, so I don't think that would be a problem. Just my 2 cents.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
The OH really struggles with her mask, way beyond the point of discomfort to getting quite panicked and claustrophobic when wearing it. Equally she fully appreciates the community benefits of wearing a face covering. She has purchased a couple of plastic face shields which are much less stressful for her. Are these considered acceptable by HAL and BA in lieu of a mask? The BA website references face mask whereas other UK transport options (guided by the law) state face covering.

PS I’m searching for guidance not a debate on the rights and wrongs of mask/shields etc 😊
I would argue that yes, (to comply with UK regulations) they are acceptable. The relevant law is found in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020, Regulation 2(1) defines 'face covering' as follows:

"2(1) In these Regulations— “face covering” means a covering of any type which covers a person’s nose and mouth;"

There is nothing which indicates the covering must be cloth, or must be in the form of a mask or similar.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post
I would argue that yes, (to comply with UK regulations) they are acceptable. The relevant law is found in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020, Regulation 2(1) defines 'face covering' as follows:

"2(1) In these Regulations— “face covering” means a covering of any type which covers a person’s nose and mouth;"

There is nothing which indicates the covering must be cloth, or must be in the form of a mask or similar.
Thank you! 😊 That was the steer/reassurance I needed. She’ll have mask with her too should anyone create a fuss, but the shield will make the trip much easier.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 10:05 am
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Personal view: If you can’t tolerate wearing a face mask, without valid medical exemption, you should not be flying.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
Thank you! 😊 That was the steer/reassurance I needed. She’ll have mask with her too should anyone create a fuss, but the shield will make the trip much easier.
i would also be careful about WHERe you travel to. Germany and Sweden (which has strict rules) stock to rules and common sense.
I’m contrast I have also experienced Spain and all the special disembarking by called row is for nothing when Aens squeezes everyone on a full flight onto two small buses.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 10:16 am
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Dealing with what actually happens on the ground, any face covering will do, and that includes face shields. I'd say 3 to 5% of passengers are going that way. Over half use the conventional vented blue and white surgical mask, 25% or so use bandanas, scarfs, roll-up jumpers or similar. One person I saw wore a baraclava! Around 15-20% wear respirator style masks. These are my rough estimates based on what I see, and as far as travelling with BA is concerned, anyone who makes the effort to do something gets a tick in the box. The Twitter comment below does not match with what I see happening in the real world. And someone who has a medical issue breathing with a face mask (and claustophobia is a medical condition to my mind) can regard themselves as exempt, but it would be best to have a word with both gate staff and the SCCM.

There may be further complications on arrival, depending on local rules / guidelines / social pressures.

On Qatar passengers are expected to wear both face masks and face shields. Those in Business can remove them after boarding is complete until arrival.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
Thank you! 😊 That was the steer/reassurance I needed. She’ll have mask with her too should anyone create a fuss, but the shield will make the trip much easier.
From Twitter 10 days ago :--


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Old Jul 15, 20, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by Schind View Post
From Twitter 10 days ago :--


thanks - always interesting to see BA’s
comms v the law v reality on the ground!
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Old Jul 15, 20, 11:04 am
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Against my normal approach of 'ooooo I dont like X' equalling me feeling people should 'suck it up' I do have some sympathy for your other half.

In a previous life I had zero issue wearing a respirator. This was reinforced when I visited HKG last summer and whilst admittedly probably way OTT I found I still had no problem wearing one as I brought a couple of, proper, respirators lest we walk around a corner & find ourselves in the middle of 'local issues' ( which turned out to be a wise move as it happens but I digress). However I have found serious issues confidentiality maintaining my airway in an N95 mask. I'm no Doctor & don't suppose to understand the whys or where's but I've repeatedly had difficulties breathing whilst wearing one.

Short of your wife being able to get agreement from a Dr regarding not wearing one I resentfully have to agree that she may have to just 'grin and bear it' despite UK Gov and others the world over not being bale to decide from one month to the next if they do any good or not.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 11:47 am
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Bottom line is that BA expressly requires a mask onboard. Whatever government rules may require and whatever the reasoning, the requirement is for a mask and I doubt that cabin crew have much tolerance for deviations.

Many people choose to wear a face shield in addition to their mask, but that is a matter of personal choice because the shield protects the individual, not others.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 11:51 am
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
thanks - always interesting to see BA’s
comms v the law v reality on the ground!
I have every sympathy with someone experiencing claustrophobia by wearing a mask, but I would suggest getting proper medical advice. Not all masks are made the same and it may be they are far more comfortable with a different type of mask.

It is also important to note that the interpretation, which you have latched on to, of the law hasn’t faced a court to establish the validity- face shields don’t provide the same level of protection, but of course if someone is medically exempt, but is able to wear a mask that is certainly better than nothing.

Final point, BA, as any Service provider is able to do, can add additional restrictions over and a over the law as they please, they ultimately need to comply with the H&SAWA, and no doubt want to keep those who are paying for flights well and still flying.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 12:09 pm
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navylad as a side note, thinking back to, I presume, your 'the ships buggered' training ( as an ex marine who did it several times over in his life but forgets the proper name for such things) have you found any mask which works well outside of N95's?

I've had issues using the things in an Uber. I seriously have airway issues using them and cannot wait for a, short, journey to be over. Whilst I have serious medical issues ( lupus and a failed immune system) respiratory issues aren't normally an issue for myself.

I'd personally find it useful but I imagine the OG poster's wife would as well.

That said if you've not had any issues yourself of course you probably wouldn't have looked at alternatives. I also believe the SI is for a "face covering" so I am tempted simply to wrap some form of cloth around my face as nothing dictates what my face covering should/ must be.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 12:12 pm
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OP, sounds like you are exempt. As CWS said have a word with the cabin crew, if you keep a low profile it is doubtful Heathrow will bother you too much, you are not the only person who has difficulties with masks.

don’t listen to other people, do what is best for you (again following the general laws of course), but the laws on masks are not as strict as some people want you to believe, you are exempt if you have a valid reason not to wear a mask.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 12:22 pm
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The exemption section of the Statutory Instrument referenced by Tobias-UK above includes these exceptions, where someone has a reasonable excuse not to wear face coverings. Note that BA is at liberty to create its own exceptions in this area, plus the SI essentially covers England's (not the UK's) airspace. But I suspect this falls into the "this will do" category.
Originally Posted by Statutory Instrument as referenced
4. For the purposes of regulation 3(1), the circumstances in which a person (“P”) has a reasonable excuse include those where—

(a)P cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering—
(i)because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010), or
(ii)without severe distress;

(b)P is travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person (“B”) and B relies on lip reading to communicate with P;
(c)P removes their face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to themselves or others;
(d)P is travelling to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and does not have a face covering with them;
(e)if it is reasonably necessary for P to eat or drink, P removes their face covering to eat or drink;
(f)P has to remove their face covering to take medication;
(g)a relevant person requests that P remove their face covering.
And the relevant extract from the Equality Act on disability says:
(1)A person (P) has a disability if—
(a)P has a physical or mental impairment, and
(b)the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
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