In the Netherlands, wearing a face mask that covers the mouth and nose is already required in various places. See government.nl for the latest information. The term ‘face mask’ is not quite specific enough; the mask must be worn over your mouth and nose.  


If you work in healthcare, see the following resources (only available in Dutch):  


Proper use of face masks

 Proper use of a face mask is important to ensure their effectiveness.  If used incorrectly, they are much less effective. The face mask needs to fit snugly and should be worn over the mouth and nose. This is to prevent droplets from entering the air and to minimise your risk of inhaling virus particles. The masks are always single-use and can be worn for a maximum of 3 to 4 hours. See Government.nl for more instructions.

Wearing face masks is always in addition to the basic rules

The basic rules, such as staying home and getting tested if you have symptoms, washing your hands, and ventilating, remain important to help prevent the spread of the virus. Wearing a medical face mask that covers the mouth and nose is an additional measure to protect yourself and others from the virus.  Wearing a face mask that covers the mouth and nose is not a replacement for the basic rules. 

Extra protection due to Omicron variant

No other variant of the coronavirus has spread as rapidly as the Omicron variant. More and more people are contracting the virus. It is spreading incredibly fast. Additional measures, such as wearing face masks that cover the mouth and nose, can help slow the spread of the virus. Face masks are an extra resource to help protect people.

Medical face masks protect the wearer and others

Medical face masks that cover the mouth and nose comply with prevailing quality and safety requirements. Non-medical face masks are not subject to any specific requirements, so the degree of protection provided by a non-medical face mask is uncertain. There are different types of medical face masks. The box indicates the masks being medical face masks, specifying either type II or IIR. Type II and type IIR face masks filter out the droplets that are released when you breathe, speak or sing, preventing them from reaching others. Type II and type IIR face masks also prevent you from inhaling droplets up to a certain size, thus also offering the wearer better protection from exposure to the virus.

FFP2 masks 

FFP2 masks are primarily advised for medical treatments in hospital, during which high concentrations of tiny aerosolised droplets containing the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could be released into the air. These face masks offer more effective protection against these smaller droplets, even better than medical face masks. FFP2 masks can be used in public spaces as well, but there are some disadvantages. Wearing an FFP2 mask for extended periods can lead to symptoms such as headache, tiredness, and sometimes shortness of breath. The use of FFP2 masks is explicitly not advised for some groups of people, such as people with respiratory conditions or pregnant people, since it can potentially cause shortness of breath.

Vulnerable people may consider using FFP2 masks in certain situations – for example, if it is not possible to stay 1.5 metres apart, in situations where people are singing or shouting, in poorly ventilated rooms, or if there are many people in one room. As always, these people are advised to avoid these types of situations whenever possible.

See the FAQ on face masks on Rijksoverheid.nl (in Dutch)

See the instruction: How to wear a face mask on Rijksoverheid.nl (in Dutch)

OMT advisory opinions on face masks

The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) has advised the Cabinet on face masks. The OMT advisory opinion of 13 January 2022 is available on the website of the Dutch government.

Mouth shields

Mouth shields are not a suitable replacement for a face mask, because they have an open top and therefore do not provide sufficient protection.

Face shields

A face shield, also known as a splash guard or splash protection, does not offer the same protection as a face mask. However, in very exceptional cases, it is possible for certain professions to use a face shield if permitted by their employer. Information on how and when to use a face shield can be found on the website of the Dutch government (in Dutch).

No need for gloves in public spaces

There is no need to wear gloves in public spaces. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and then dry your hands well. In any case, do this when you come in from outside, after you blow your nose, before preparing meals, before eating meals, and after you have used the toilet. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and touch your face as little as possible.