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I was debating what today’s travel tip should be. I was going to write about President Biden’s new mask mandate and the required quarantine for travelers (including US citizens) to the USA, which is really going to hurt international travel but safety first.

Germany requiring N95 masks in stores
Then I received an email from a friend of mine living in Germany who said, “Germany extended our lockdown until Feb. 14, and N95 masks are now required in stores and on public transportation. Our numbers are dropping, but the government is really worried about the mutation. The good news is that Merkel said everyone in Germany can have the vaccine by mid-September.”

Lufthansa to require N95 masks on flights
I thought that was crazy until I looked at my Twitter feed and came upon two stories: The first from the blog paddleyourownkanoo.com with the title Lufthansa Imposes New Medical Grade Face Mask Rules Over Mutant Virus Fears. They write, “Lufthansa will require all of its passengers to wear a medical-grade face mask starting February 1, bringing the carrier in line with new rules recently approved by Germany’s federal government over fears that fabric face coverings don’t offer adequate protection against highly-transmissible new variants of the novel Coronavirus. Passengers will need to wear a medical-grade surgical mask as a minimum and anyone caught wearing a fabric face covering will be denied boarding. Ideally, passengers should seek to wear an FFP2 mask or even an N95 certified mask according to Lufthansa.”

New UK variant ‘may be more deadly’
A few stories down in my feed was a tweet from a US epidemiologist with a BBC story that really made my stomach drop. “BREAKING—UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says: Early evidence suggests the #b117 variant of #covid19 that emerged in the UK may be more deadly. (data assessed by scientists on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group). TO BE UPDATED.”

KLM canceling all flights between UK and The Netherlands
I kept doom scrolling and it seems to be getting worse. Another tweet: “Breaking: KLM cancels all flights between UK and The Netherlands from tomorrow onwards — while ‘tougher’ new restrictions for UK travellers are discussed, due to #COVID19 variant.”

Canada tougher travel rules likely coming next week
And yet another from Jim Byers, a popular American/Canadian journalist, with: “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says tougher measures on travel could be announced next week. He also urged Canadians today to avoid travel overseas as well as within Canada. https://t.co/8CKcFcISro”

US State Department’s warning
Then I looked at the US State Department’s feed and they have a thread everyone should read but a few of the highlights (or lowlights) are:

“We encourage U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel. If you must travel abroad we want you to have all the information you need to do so safely. Have health and financial contingency plans should you test positive, and do your part to help slow the spread of the virus.”

“Verify your destination offers testing, and have a back-up plan.”

“A:  If your resort does offer COVID testing, remember not all types of tests will be accepted.  Only a viral test (either molecular NAAT or antigen) is acceptable for prepared to extend your trip for a few weeks at your own expense. A:  Some resorts and int’l airports are working to provide testing but there’s no guarantee there will be enough tests, or that  results will be ready in 3 days, especially at popular locations.

Grocery stores may require N95s
Then I went to Trader Joe’s to clear my mind and stock up on food for the week and I got talking to one of the employees about their new rule of customers not being allowed to help pack groceries (I’m usually a lot quicker at packing then the cashiers). Somehow I brought up the story about Germany and the N95 masks in the grocery stores and he said he thinks it’s coming here soon, too.

Buy N95 masks
So my tip is that you might want to start buying some N95 masks now that they’re available because they might be mandatory the next time you get on a plane or go to the grocery store. At the beginning of the pandemic, they were impossible to find and you had to beware of dupes that weren’t really N95s so they weren’t effective.

Here are a couple places to buy from and, full disclosure, these are using my affiliate links, so I make a small commission (it doesn’t cost you anything).

N95 masks on Amazon

Aiden Health’s N95, KN95 masks and other PPE

RELATED READING
What to Know Before Wearing a Face Mask on a Plane
Best Face Masks For Flying and Travel During COVID-19 2021

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10 Comments On "Why You Should Buy N95 Masks Now"
  1. Tim|

    Just to be clear…N95 masks and KN95 masks are significantly different. This story makes reference to N95 masks (which are generally not available to the general public, at least in the U.S.). The links to purchase on Amazon are for KN95 masks. These are definitely better than a cloth covering, but are not N95 masks.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date!

  2. TDHill|

    Thanks for the tip! I just bought some to be ready.

  3. Rajiv|

    The N95 mask with the valves or openings on the front is NOT safe, and may actually propel your germs further.N95 masks filter about 95 percent of particles smaller than 300 nanometres.
    do you think should we use it?

    https://paisaknow.com/

  4. Austin|

    Yep, KN95s are *not* N95s — they’re built & tested to different standards.

    Best source that I know of for N95s that you can actually buy: Search for “CovCare” — cov dot care

  5. Ķ|

    where we safely buy N95 masks

  6. P. Sanchez|

    Ditto N95 vs KN95/FFP2/KF94. The quality control of the respirator is important. I now exclusively buy KF94 from South Korea manufacturers, since the export restrictions have been lifted. KN95s from China have quality variations–I have had to throw out several groups I purchased after doing the simple permeability checks.

  7. Ķ|

    want black color ??

  8. Pu|

    Lufthansa does not require n95. Normal surgical mask is fine

  9. Jeff|

    The N95 does not work if you have a beard as it’s designed to seal when worn.

    Besides shaving, will those of us with beards be allowed some sort of mask alternative?

  10. Duane|

    I clicked the Amazon link and saw that the N95 search term also brings up the KN95. Be careful.

    A reader says not all N95s meet the same standards. Is there a “brand” or a compliance/quality number we should be looking for?

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