During the course of the pandemic, the Ministry of Equality collaborated with the Office of Civil Contingencies and procured face masks with transparent coverings in order to support the deaf and hard of hearing community in Gibraltar and enable them to lip read the face mask user.

The first batch of these face masks arrived in July and were distributed to Government Departments where deaf and hard of hearing individuals were more likely to attend. The masks have proved to be incredibly popular and the office of Civil Contingencies ordered extra stock, again to be distributed further amongst Government departments.

In addition, The Ministry of Equality has announced that it has donated 50 of these masks to the Gibraltar Hearing Issues and Tinnitus Association (GHITA).

The need to use face masks to combat the spread of COVID-19 has unfortunately affected the quality of life for people who have a hearing impairment and these masks have been designed with them in mind.

The masks are reusable and can be washed after use numerous times, before the need to be replaced.

The Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP said “I am very happy with the very positive feedback that we have received regarding the use of these masks and this is, of course, very encouraging. These masks are an essential tool that will help lip readers in situations where they need to communicate and feel safe at the same time, especially if they are going out as part of a family unit.

The Ministry of Equality is more than happy to assist in providing these masks for GHITA so that these can be distributed where they are needed. We have distributed these widely throughout the public sector and we encourage the private sector to take these up for the benefit of their deaf and hard of hearing customers for their benefit

A Spokesman for GHITA said “Thank you to the Ministry of Equality for their kind donation of 50 windowed face masks to GHITA”.