EU Watch

More Masks, More Freedom

​Wearing a mask during COVID19 makes our societies freer, because it gives more people more choice over how to live their lives.

by Israel Butler
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Good health gives us more independence, so we have more choice over what we do and how we use our time. And a mask is an effective tool for keeping people around us healthy, slowing the spread of the virus.


If we can keep the virus under control, we can start to enjoy some of the things we miss. It will be easier to begin to re-open schools for our children, see colleagues in the places we work, visit shops, meet friends and family.

Some anti-maskers say that being free means having no restrictions on what you do. But when a few people do whatever they want, the rest of us end up less free. If I play loud music at night, my freedom of expression stamps out my neighbour's privacy.

This is why in human rights law each persons' rights are balanced against everyone else's. We all have the liberty to do, think and say what we want, so long as that doesn't harm other people's liberties.

Some people find masks a bit uncomfortable, strange to look at and don't like that it's difficult to see facial expressions. But we can use them to keep our neighbours healthy and control the spread of the virus. So it's a fair balance between everyone's freedoms.

If we find masks awkward, the solution is for manufacturers to improve their design: make them comfier, more stylish and find ways to allow our facial expressions to show.

We make choices that can affect other people all the time. Most of us want to be considerate & caring towards those around us. Whether it's deciding to drive safely, checking on neighbours during a heatwave, or offering your seat to someone carrying a baby.

Freedom means being able to choose. The more choices are available to more people, the freer we are as a society. The more caring and considerate we are to one another, the more freedoms we all enjoy.

Information Hub

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps in the EU

Find out more