Now mandatory in closed public places, wearing a mask makes it possible to fight effectively against the health crisis linked to Covid-19. Other protections are also sold. Among them, the plastic visors. But can they replace masks? Are they effective? Answers.

Are visors as effective as masks?

Since July 20, 2020, all French people over 11 years old have to

wear a mask in closed public places. A measure taken by the government to fight the Covid-19 epidemic and that “uncertainties remain

on the transmission of the virus in the air1.

More and more French people are also acquiring plastic visors or face shields which, placed on the face, offer protection against possible droplets contaminated by

the Sars-Cov-2.

Some professionals, including those working in a medical environment, use these devices. As the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) explains in an opinion dated May 13, 20202, “in a health environment (for example in the medical, dental, veterinary field) (…) they are used, for protect the operator’s facial area and associated mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) against splashes, droplets and projections of bodily fluids. They also have the advantage of preventing their wearer from easily or inadvertently

touch your face or the mask worn underneath with your hands.

Yet for the HCSP, “in any case, and whatever its manufacture, composition and shape, a visor does not exhibit filtration performance and cannot replace a respirator, in particular to limit environmental contamination in the event that the person wearing the visor is himself an asymptomatic shedder “, and recommend using it “In addition to a respiratory protection device or

surgical mask”. Opinion that applies to all professionals, even outside the medical community.

Masks, visors and barrier gestures

On his website3, the government confirms that these devices “are not intended to replace masks for

the general public”, but represent “An additional means of protection against viruses transmitted by droplets”. “Wearing a mask (and visor) does not exempt from rigorous application of barrier gestures, hand hygiene and respect for

social distancing”.

Created Jul 24, 2020


  • 1 – “Compulsory wearing of the ‘general public’ mask in closed places, FAQ”, Ministry of Solidarity and Health, July 19, 2020 (

    accessible online).

  • 2 – “Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: use of visors or face shields in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic”, Opinion of the HCSP, May 13, 2020 (

    accessible online).

  • 3 – “General public masks”, update, government website (

    accessible online).