Scarves and bandanas or kerchiefs had been tolerated so far as an alternative for those who didn't have a classic surgical mask or one in cloth or material with them.
However, the RAG has issued a new advice after new and more infectious variants of coronavirus emerged, and after stricter guidelines had been announced in countries such as Germany and Austria. Alternatives for classic types of mouth masks such as scarves or bandanas will no longer do from now on.
Earlier, Belgian hospitals had also banned masks in cloth, arguing that these may not have been washed properly, and may carry bacteria or viruses. In hospitals, disposable surgical masks have to be worn.
At their Tuesday press conference, Sciensano experts also urged employees to wear a mouth mask at work even when social distancing is being respected. Those rules had already been introduced by various companies. "This is epecially useful in rooms where we stay for a longer spell of time, where a lot of talking is being done and where there are questions about air circulation."