In an effort to reduce transmission and number of infections of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) virus, governments and official bodies around the world have produced guidelines on the use of face masks and face coverings. While there is a growing body of recommendations for healthcare professionals and the wider population to use facial protection in “enclosed spaces” where minimal distancing from other individuals is not possible, there is a dearth of clear guidelines for individuals undertaking exercise and sporting activity. The present viewpoint aims to propose recommendations for face coverings while exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic that consider physical distancing, the environment, the density of active cases associated with the specific sports activity, and the practical use of face coverings in order to reduce potential viral transmission. Recommendations are provided on the basis of very limited available evidence in conjunction with the extensive collective clinical experience of the authors and acknowledging the need to consider the likelihood of the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 in the general population. We recommend that face coverings should be used in any environment considered to be of a high or moderate transmission risk, where tolerated and after individual risk assessment. In addition, as national caseloads fluctuate, individual sporting bodies should consider up to date guidance on the use of face coverings during sport and exercise, alongside other preventative measures.


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Cite as

Shurlock, J., Muniz-Pardos, B., Tucker, R., Bachl, N., Papadopoulou, T., Holloway, G., Jones, N., Bigard, X., Vonbank, K., Niederseer, D., Meyer, J., Nowak, D., Debruyne, A., Zupet, P., Löllgen, H., Steinacker, J., Wolfarth, B., Bilzon, J., Ionescu, A., Dohi, M., Swart, J., Constantinou, D., Badtieva, V., Zelenkova, I., Casasco, M., Geistlinger, M., Fossati, C., Fagnani, F., Di Luigi, L., Webborn, N., Angeloudis, K., Guppy, F., Singleton, P., Miller, M., Pigozzi, F. & Pitsiladis, Y. 2021, 'Recommendations for Face Coverings While Exercising During the COVID-19 Pandemic', Sports Medicine - Open, 7, article no: 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-021-00309-7

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Last updated: 05 August 2022
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