This page offers information about whether wearing face masks and gloves can protect you against the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Not all the information on our website has been updated according to the press conference on 27 May. We will update our information as soon as possible.

Face masks not needed in private life

With the current rules in the Netherlands, it is not necessary to wear face masks in your own personal time. The coronavirus is transmitted through droplets from the nose and throat. The droplets spread via coughing and sneezing. Someone else can breathe them in and get infected. The droplets can also be transmitted through hand contact, for example if someone touches their nose or face and then shakes hands. In the Netherlands, everyone is staying at home as much as possible, and we are staying 1.5 meters apart. If you have cold symptoms or a fever, you are required to stay at home.

It is also important to follow the hygiene measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water 
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow 
  • Use paper tissues
  • Do not shake hands


If everyone follows these measures, it is not necessary to wear a face mask. In these measures, the Netherlands is following the recommendations of the WHO and the ECDC.

Masks for healthcare workers

Professional face masks are in short supply right now. For that reason, we need to take a careful look at where these masks are most urgently needed. Right now, that is in the healthcare sector. It is important for healthcare workers to wear these protective face masks. They primarily use the masks while caring for corona patients. The masks ensure that the employees will not get infected. 

Home-made face masks

Home-made face masks do not provide sufficient protection against the coronavirus. Professional face masks do provide protection. They fit tightly over the nose and mouth and are changed regularly. Home-made face masks vary widely in fit, materials and overall quality. This is because various materials are used, such as cotton and linen. As a result, the fit and filter effect are not sufficient.

Saying good-bye at home in the event of a death

If a family member who has the coronavirus (or is suspected of having the virus) is on their deathbed, you may want to say good-bye to them in person. In that case, you must protect yourself from catching the coronavirus. You must use a mask that covers your mouth and nose if you cannot keep a distance of 1.5 meters in that situation.

In case of physical contact, you must ensure proper hygiene: 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and then dry your hands thoroughly
  • Before you go out, when you return home, after you blow your nose, obviously before meals, and after you have used the toilet.

If a direct family member with COVID-19 has been admitted to a healthcare institution, check with the doctor to see if it is possible to say goodbye.

Wearing gloves

Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and then dry your hands thoroughly. Wash your hands before you go out, when you return home, after you blow your nose, obviously before meals, and after you have used the toilet. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and touch your face as little as possible. When you do this, it is not necessary to wear gloves in public areas. Wearing gloves does not offer extra protection. Some people have to wash their hands very frequently in the context of their work, causing their hands to become painful and itchy. To protect the skin from frequent washing, it would be useful to wear disposable gloves.