Wearing masks, buying masks locally, & how to make your own

If you have any other suggestions for information, or to signpost to local mask makers or suppliers, please email or comment on our Facebook group

When do I need to wear a mask?

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the wearing of masks, either to limit the spread of Covid-19 to a non-infected person or to help prevent the disease from being spread by someone who is infected.

Wearing a face covering, such as a mask, scarf or bandana, while in shops and supermarkets in England will be mandatory from 24 July. They must already be worn on public transport throughout England. Measures can be taken if people do not comply with this law. Transport operators can deny service or direct someone to wear a face covering. If necessary, the police can issue fines of £100 (£50 if paid within 14 days). Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law and can refuse entry.

Read the government’s full guidance about face coverings

Do I need to wear a mask in other places?

The government’s website says, “You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.”

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (which runs Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals) has asked everyone who attends their hospitals to wear a face covering

Is anyone exempt?

There are exemptions from mask-wearing for some people, including but not limited to:

  • children under the age of 11
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

Read the government’s guidance about who is exempt.

KeepSafe have made the free cards below for people who are exempt to print themselves, as well as posters and other resources. If you don’t have a printer or would like a laminated version local printers offer these services, such as James and Owen. KeepSafe stresses, “If you can wear a face mask then you MUST wear one. Please do not abuse the exemption rules as they are there for people who really need them.”

mask exemption card examples

Face masks and people who lip read

Action on Hearing Loss “welcomes” the Government guidance which explicitly states that people who rely on lipreading to communicate, as well as others with a ‘reasonable excuse’, are not required to wear face coverings. The charity is aware of a limited supply of face coverings with clear panels, which allow for lipreading, available for purchase in the UK.

Face masks with clear panels are available to buy online from Just Smile and are made-to-order by Ivy Embroidery. If you know of any local suppliers please contact us.

This video shows how to make a face mask with a clear panel.

How to wear a face mask

This short BBC News video provides a useful guide:

Local mask-makers

The following people are making fabric washable masks or face coverings. If you know of a local mask-maker or supplier not yet listed, please email or post in our Facebook group.

Free/voluntary donation

  • Share and Repair: masks are placed in a box outside the shop (24 High Street, Stonehouse) and are free. Donations welcome, please drop through the door if closed.
  • Community Mask Trees: more than 30 places around the district offering masks – click on the link to find a location near you. Voluntary donation of £2 per mask which is given to charity. See map below for locations, and scroll past the map for contact details of further local people making masks and more:

People making masks

  • Jen Taylor: Masks and reversible cotton mask storage bags – they store the clean mask and then can be turned inside out to store the worn mask (the bag will now be a different colour to remind you to wash them!)
  • Emily – 07812 072141. “Made from repurposed fabrics, all washed & fully washable. Fully lined with a nose wire to improve fit over the nose & cheeks (removable for washing) & filter pocket (you can use a folded coffee filter/kitchen towel, for example). Small (for children), medium or large. £5 each plus £1.50 p&p or collect.”
  • Handmade by Georgie UK: pleated adult £5 and child £4 (double layer). Triple layer adult £8 and child £7 with pocket to put your own filter (filter not included). Postage usually about £2.18, free delivery in Stroud/Gloucester area.
  • Crazycleverfingers/Annie Gotts: 100% cotton masks for adults and children. Fully lined, with filter pocket, and sewn-in channel for optional wire to personalise the fit. Washable at 60 degrees. Topstitched for durability and shape retention. Secure and comfortable, in a wide range of colours and designs. Adult masks from £8.50, kids’ from £6.50 (age 2-5 or 6-10). Price includes donation to Stroud District Foodbank. The pink ribbon design includes donation to Cobalt Health Unit (medical diagnostic imaging charity) in Cheltenham.
  • Cuddle Bed: 3-ply with a non-woven layer, filters available, elastic around the ears. £4.25 including postage.
  • Rachel Markwick: simple masks with elastic ear pieces from cotton and linen fabric with a vilene interface layer ironed inside. £5 each including delivery in Stroud area.
  • Nina Brabbins: 3 layers of cotton and cotton blend fabrics with a pocket for a filter and adjustable head/ear ties. Cut from old clothes and fabric off cuts – huge variety of fabrics. £7.50 each/ 2 for £12. Larger orders available.
  • Kim Flannery /07816 442088: cotton and washable masks for men, women or children. Choice of fabrics. £5 each plus £1.37 postage (up to four masks).
  • Natasha Short: washable easy fitting with ear loops or around the head fastening “the latter is usually less painful”.
  • Kim Lewington: asking for donations for fly2help – lots of aeroplane material plus other options!
  • Liz Baynham: variety of fabrics. Adult £7.50/child £6.50.
  • Heartizan: “Beautiful handmade care masks are made within the heart of Gloucestershire, made with various styles of fabric and elastic to keep your mask in place.”
  • Jenny Nixon/07712 648331: pleated design, with flexible aluminium strip over the nose and filter pocket.
  • Kirsty Harris: face coverings made in Bisley. 2 for £8/3 for £12. Washable, reversible.

Places selling masks

  • Butterfly Ball, Union Street, Stroud
  • Cornflower & Calico, High Street, Stroud
  • Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre, Wallbridge, Stroud – masks are made by volunteers to raise funds for the restoration of the canal
  • Fourteen Lifestyle, Kendrick Street, Stroud Haberdashery Twist, High Street, Stroud
  • Home Bargains, Five Valleys Shopping Centre, Stroud
  • Made in Stroud, Kendrick Street, Stroud and through their Made in Stroud online shop Moonflower, High Street, Stroud
  • Pashon (selling masks by Chrissie Lowery), Russell Street, Stroud
  • Stroud Books, High Street, Stroud
  • StroudCo
  • Stroud Valleys Project, Threadneedle Street, Stroud
  • Trading Post, High Street, Stroud
  • Wilkinson, Five Valleys Shopping Centre, Stroud

How to make a mask

The Big Community Sew has a website “to help ensure that every person in every community in Britain has the face covering they need” which includes how-to videos and patterns.

The Sew For Keyworkers Glos Facebook group has lots of videos, help and advice.

Below is a video showing how to make a simple pleated mask. Use cotton or polycotton (max 60/40) – an old sheet or duvet cover is perfect.


Stroud Coronavirus Community Response has designed these resources for anyone to use for free.

Scientific evidence

This sections aims to give an overview of the research that is being carried out into the effectiveness of wearing face coverings.

A summary of the evidence about wearing face masks in public, from the University of California, San Francisco.

Cloth face coverings, even homemade masks made of the correct material, are effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19 – for the wearer and those around them – according to a study from Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science.

Face coverings for the public: Laying straw men to rest” by Trisha Greenhalgh in Journal of Evalution in Clinical Practice provides an accessible introduction to the science around face masks and Covid-19.

World Health Organization advice on the use of masks in communities, during home care, and in health care settings in areas that have reported cases of Covid-19. It is intended for individuals in the community, public health and infection prevention and control professionals, health care managers, health care workers, and community health workers.