According to this website, it is required to use FFP2 masks in Vienna public transport. From what I've read, an FFP2 mask has a filter rate of 94%-95%. In contrast, an SN98 mask has a filter rate of 98%, which is better.

Can I use an SN98 mask instead of FFP2 mask in Vienna?

  • 1
    Never heard of SN98; Here's a huge list of masks known in Austria: info.gesundheitsverbund.at/… Aug 16, 2022 at 21:41
  • 6
    Are you interested in a de jure or de facto answer?
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 17, 2022 at 7:23
  • 2
    you most definitely can. at the moment, staff looking out for people in public transport violating the mandatory mask regulation still take it seriously; I've never seen them looking to verify if the text "FFP2" is actually printed on a mask though - and I'm a frequent user of buses, trains, tramway and the metro in Vienna. So it would be quite unlikely to "get caught" and reprimanded. But there is more than one good reason why you should not.
    – dlatikay
    Aug 17, 2022 at 10:31
  • 8
    Uhm, your question is based on a very dangerous bad assumption: that filter rate is all that matters. Which is absolutely not the case. Surgical masks (like SN98) do NOT fit as neatly and therefore allow a lot of air to bypass them unfiltered. So even with a perfect 100% filtration rate, such a mask would be inferior (for the purpose of airborne pathogen protection) to FFP2 masks.
    – Hobbamok
    Aug 17, 2022 at 12:18
  • 3
    De jure, you have to wear "eine Atemschutzmaske der Schutzklasse FFP2 (FFP2-Maske) ohne Ausatemventil oder eine Maske mit mindestens gleichwertig genormtem Standard", which basically means an FFP2 mask without exhalation valve or a mask that conforms to another standard with equal or better protection.
    – Heinzi
    Aug 17, 2022 at 13:37

3 Answers 3



An SN98 is a three layer surgical mask which is not an FFP2 respirator.

So no, you can not.

You could compare https://pharmaplus.co.il/sn98-face-mask.html to https://pharmaplus.co.il/%D7%98%D7%95%D7%A4-%D7%9E%D7%93-%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%9B%D7%AA-%D7%A4%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9D.html to see this is the case.

Or you can see it's a three layer surgical mask on https://www.impertechsafety.com/super-safe-sn98-surgical-mask/ compare to https://www.nelsonlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Face-Mask-Testing-Requirements.pdf and you will see it doesn't exactly correspond to any EU standard in masks -- but it's not substantially better filtration wise as it is only ASTM Level 1.

Most importantly, masks are tested from the inside to the outside while respirators are also tested from the outside to the inside and this is what makes them much, much more effective against COVID-19.


As per chx's answer, please do not wear the SN98 pleated surgical mask on Vienna public transport. The local laws do not allow you to wear such a mask in such a situation.

An FFP2 / KF94 / KN95 / N95 mask is a far better choice than an SN98 mask or another pleated surgical mask. It may offer significantly better protection to both you and to those around you.

I will try to help you understand the difference between media filtration rate and fitted filtration rate.

The SN98 mask has a media filtration rate of 98%. However, because of its pleated design, it leaks unfiltered air through the sides. Therefore, it may provide a fitted filtration rate of 20% or even worse.

An FFP2 mask has a media filtration rate of 95%–99% or better. Because of its careful 3D design and shape, it may seal to the face of the wearer. (Not guaranteed.) Therefore, a well-fitting FFP2 mask may provide a fitted filtration rate of 95%–99% or better, which is far better than that of the SN98 mask.

The SN98 surgical mask is better than a cloth mask; but a well-fitting FFP2 / KN95 / N95 mask is superior to the SN98. I would encourage you to buy some FFP2 / KN95 / N95 masks, and to wear them on public transit and in all indoor public places.

In Europe, the 3M VFlex 9152 FFP2 and the 3M Aura 9320+ FFP2 are reasonably popular choices.

In the US, you can wear any random KN95 mask with ear loops; or you can buy the 3M VFlex 9105 N95 with headbands.


Good news! The mask mandate in Vienna is expiring on March 1st, so starting tomorrow you may wear whichever mask you like or not wear a mask at all:

The FFP2 mask mandate currently in place in all Vienna public transport and its stations will fall on February 28th. From March, the Austrian capital will have the same mask rules as the other provinces, so people will no longer have to wear FFP2 masks on trams, metros, and buses (plus the stations).

The stricter rules for visitors in hospitals and elderly homes, who had to present a negative PCR test, will also fall. Additionally, employees at these establishments will no longer have to undergo a weekly screening for Covid-19.

However, the obligation to wear masks in hospitals and nursing homes would end only on April 30th, as it is a federal determination.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .