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Face masks

When used correctly, wearing a face mask can supplement other infection prevention measure. Always carry a face mask and hand sanitiser with you, so you put one on when needed. And keep up to date on where you are required to wear a face mask or a visor.

Face masks are only a supplement, so you must continue to follow the general guidance on how to prevent the spread of infection in society. 

Further information

How to use a face mask (poster)

Coronasmitte.dk/en (website)

On face masks

1. When to use a face mask

In Denmark, wearing a face mask is either required by law or recommended in the following situations and locations: 

Wearing a face mask is obligatory:
  • On public transport etc., including trains, busses, taxis and ferries, and at train stations and bus stops, etc.
  • In establishments selling food, drinks or tobacco for consumption on-site.
  • In retail shops, including supermarkets, shopping centres, department stores, bazaars and shopping arcades, takeaway restaurants, etc.
  • Indoors in premises for cultural, sports and recreational activities, including museums, sports centres, fitness centres, art galleries, music venues, libraries, cultural centres, zoos, cinemas, theatres and clubs as well as job centres, citizen service centres, etc. 
  • Indoors in churches or other places of worship.
  • At institutions of learning – such as preparatory education, upper secondary schools, adult and continuing education programmes, institutions of higher education, universities, folk high schools, night school, schools of music and arts, driving schools offering theory lessons, etc.
  • In public and private hospitals and clinics, independent therapists, municipal healthcare services, municipal and private nursing care and assisted living facilities, respite care facilities, as well as foster care facilities and institutions for people with mental disorders or special needs in the social care sector.
  • While taking your driving test, including assessing the fitness to drive tests, when others are in the car with you.

Wearing a face mask is recommended:

  • If you are infected or at risk of being infected with novel coronavirus and have to leave your home, for example because you need to be tested.
  • If you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and get into situations where it is difficult for either you or others to keep a distance of 2 metres, for example at a party.
  • If you visit someone at higher risk and whom you do not live with, for example a person in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please consider wearing a face mask in those situations when you cannot keep a distance of at least 2 metres.
  • At large gatherings, for example demonstrations or parades, where it can be difficult to keep your distance. 
  • In situations where close face-to-face contact is unavoidable.

Please keep up to date on the current requirements on when to wear a face mask at coronasmitte.dk/en/face-mask-or-shield 

Please note that the municipalities distribute free face masks to people who are unable to acquire them themselves. Contact your local municipality or your local citizen service centre (Borgerservice) to learn more about this offer.


2. How to use a face mask correctly

Face masks must be worn correctly to avoid spreading the virus and bacteria to yourself and others.

  • Before use: Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting on the face mask.
  • Find out which side of the mask is the front. For disposable face masks, it is usually the coloured side.
  • Put on the face mask by holding the elastic ear loops. Make sure it fits tightly to your face and covers both your nose and mouth.
  • Do not touch the face mask during use. Change it often and always put on a new one if it gets wet or dirty.
  • Remove the face mask by holding the elastic ear loops, and discard it immediately in a waste or litter bin. Put it in a bag until you can throw it in the waste, or if you need to reuse it after having used it only briefly. Put fabric face masks in a bag and wash them at 60 degrees. 
  • After use: Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.

Please watch the film

How to use a face mask


3. Which type of face mask to use

If you choose a disposable face mask, please check that it is of medical or surgical quality, i.e. it must be factory-made and CE-marked, and preferably with elastic ear loops as this makes it easier to use correctly.

We recommend that you use a Type I face mask, which is sufficient for use in the public. Type II face masks and respirators (FFP2, FFP3, etc.) are recommended for use in the healthcare and elderly care sectors. 

Wear a factory-made CE-marked face mask, for example a type I disposable face mask, if:

  • You are infected or at risk of being infected with novel coronavirus, and you have to break your self-isolation.
  • If you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you are going to be with someone at higher risk.

In other situations, you can wear a good quality, non- CE-marked fabric face mask as an alternative to a CE-marked disposable face mask.

A visor can be an alternative to a face mask if you cannot use a face mask or in situations where it is essential that others can see your face. A visor does not fit as tightly around your face as a face mask does, which can affect to what degree it protects you and others. The visor should ideally cover your mouth, nose and eyes – or at least your nose and mouth.

Further information

Choice of face mask (film)




4. Reusing face masks

You should ideally only wear a face mask once and then discard it (disposable) or wash it (fabric).

You can, however, reuse a face mask if you are only going to use it briefly, for example if you need to get up and to go to the toilet at a restaurant, if you visit several shops in succession, or if you are only travelling between two stops on public transport. You can also lift it briefly to take a drink of water, etc. 

Please follow this guidance:

  • Always change mask if it becomes wet, dirty or if you have touched it several times as it may lose its effectiveness.
  • You should not wear the same face mask for more than 4 hours.
  • Always remove the face mask by holding the elastic ear loops, and do not touch the mask itself.
  • Never touch the face mask while you are wearing it.
  • Always sanitise your hands before putting it on and after taking it off.
  • Store your face mask in a plastic bag (freezer bag, etc.) if you wish to reuse it briefly. Please do not leave it on the table or chair, where it can contaminate surfaces or other objects, or be contaminated by virus on e.g. the table.
  • Do not place wear the face mask under your chin, forehead or carry it in your hand or around your arm when you are not using it. Take if it off and put it in a small freezer bag, for example..
  • Put disposable face mask in a waste or litter bin – preferably one with a lid. Do not leave it in public transport and dump it on the street. Wash fabric face masks at 60 degrees after use.
  • Do not share a face mask with anyone else.

Always carry multiple face masks so you can replace your mask after you have used it or if it gets wet or dirty.

You can basically wear the same visor for a whole day, and some types can be washed and reused after cleaning. Replace or clean the visor if it becomes visibly dirty or wet. Do not touch the visor during use and wash or sanitise your hands before and after putting it on or taking it off.

Please watch the film

How to use a face mask


5. Should children wear face masks?

In principle, children under the age of 12 are exempt from the requirement to wear a face mask.

However, the Danish Health Authority does not advise against face masks for children – the important thing is simply that the face mask does not sit too loosely on the child's face, and that the child can take it off and on and know how to wear it correctly. This will typically include children in primary school and upwards.

Children can also use a fabric face mask if they follow the same guidelines as adults.

If you are the parent of a child under the age of 12 who cannot wear a face mask, you can instead help your child to have clean hands, and you can keep an eye on whether your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Toddlers and small children should not wear face masks as there may be a risk of suffocation


6. Those exempt from wearing face masks

A face mask must not cause significant discomfort to the wearer or affect your ability to function. As a rule, a face mask should only be worn by people who can put it on and take it off themselves and where the mask fits tightly to the face.

The Danish Health Authority has determined that the following people may  be exempt from wearing a face mask:

  • Children under the age of 12.
  • People who, due to physical or mental conditions, cannot wear a face mask correctly, for example have impaired vision or hearing, paralysis, developmental disabilities, dementia, or some other physical or mental affliction or condition that prevent them from wearing a face mask or visor. 
  • People who feel that wearing a face mask worsen their allergy, causes eczema or other skin problems.  Some may also struggle to breathe through a face mask or find that it worsen preexisting conditions such as anxiety or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Please take off the face mask if you experience severe discomforts such as difficulty breathing or a feeling of being suffocated.

You are also allowed to take off your face mask or visor – fully wholly or partly – if you have a good reason to do so such as:

  • To eat or drink
  • During a conversation with a person who lip-reads
  • If the police want to verify your identity
  • If you need to comfort someone who for various reasons is frightened by the sight of a face mask or visor

Learn more at coronasmitte.dk/en/

And please keep in mind that there may be a perfectly valid reason why someone is not wearing a face mask, and that the cause is not always visible.

You are not required to produce proof in the form of a medical certificate, for example, to document why you are not wearing a face mask, and no one – either on public transport, restaurants, shops etc. – can demand such documentation from you. We do not recommend that someone who, for the reasons listed above, are unable to wear face masks or visors is denied access or turned away.

The Danish Health Authority has created badges for citizens who wish to either signal that others should keep their distance or that they are exempt from wearing face masks/visors. Learn more about these badges.

Further information

About children and others who may find it difficult to wear a face mask (film)


7. How to stop your glasses fogging up

For people with glasses, wearing a face mask can lead to their lenses fogging up, reducing their vision. It can also increase the risk of contact spread if you repeatedly touch your glasses.

Here are some tips on how to prevent your glasses from fogging up:

  • Choose a face mask that fits tightly against your nose, e.g. a face mask with a metal strip that you can pinch to mould the mask to the shape of your nose.
  • Wash your glasses with lukewarm water and a few drops of washing up liquid every morning and evening. Then dry them with a microfibre cloth. Soap reduces the risk of fog from sticking to the lenses.
  • Position the face mask as close to your eyes as possible and wear your glasses a little further down your nose.



8. On hearing aids and communicating with someone with a hearing impairment

If you wear behind-the-ear hearing aids or have a hearing loss, wearing a face mask can be challenging. 

A face mask with elastic ear loops might be difficult to use as it may prove hard to fasten properly or you might run the risk of misplacing your hearing aid when you remove the face mask. Consider using a face visor or a face mask that goes around the head rather than of over the ears instead. 

You may also find that face masks muffles the sound and make it difficult to read someone’s lips. 

When you are with someone who has a hearing loss, please:

  • Avoid any background noise.
  • Speak loudly, slowly and clearly.
  • Rephrase the sentence if the person with hearing loss does not understand what you are saying.
  • Write or text instead of talk. Use pen and paper or the note app on your phone or tables etc.

Updated 24 JAN 2021