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Background information

There's no longer a shortage of non-medical N95 / FFP2 masks. Anyone who wants enhanced protection against COVID can now get some. Despite some rumors to the contrary, these masks can be easy to breathe through and reasonably comfortable. I often wear one, even at the supermarket.

If you'd like, you can view links to vendors of N95 / FFP2 masks in various countries.

Beard hair can cause an N95 / KN95 / FFP2 mask to leak. This means that the mask may not work as well. In fact, in such a case, it might provide you with little or no protection at all. (Source.) Even a day or two worth of stubble can start to reduce protection. (Source.)

If you really don't want to shave, one possible workaround is to apply an under-mask beard cover. But it may be safer and more elegant just to shave.

My questions

A.) If you're planning to wear an N95 / KN95 / FFP2 mask around town, can you shave during Ḥol Ha'moed?

B.) How about during the Omer?

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I have gotten permission from my rabbi in the past to shave on Chol HaMoed and during the Omer for purposes of appearing professional at work. I strongly suspect that there's room to be lenient for the purpose of enhanced pandemic protection. If this issue affects you, I recommend asking your rabbi.

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