Face coverings or masks reduce the spread of coronavirus, especially when combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
Coronavirus spreads when an infected person speaks, sneezes, or coughs within 6 feet of others. It is possible for you to have the virus and spread it even if you have no symptoms and feel well. Wearing a face mask protects people around you.
When should I wear a face covering?
You must wear a face covering or mask whenever you are outside of your home in public settings, including:
- Outdoors, if you can't stay 6 feet away from others
- At work, when near other people or in common areas
- Inside any indoor public space including grocery or retail stores
- When waiting in line
- When getting health care
- On public transportation or when ride-sharing
When can you take off your mask?
There are times when it's alright to take your mask off when you're away from home, such as:
- When eating or drinking
- When you're not sharing a common area, room or enclosed space with others
- When outdoors in public and can stay six feet from others
- If a hearing-impaired person needs to read your lips
- If wearing a face covering imposes a risk to you at work - for example, if it could get caught in machinery
- When you are getting a service to the nose or face
What is a face covering and how should it be worn?
A face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. Don't wear your mask under your nose or just on your chin. A mask is only effective if it covers both ways you breathe. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. A mask can be made at home using a scarf or t-shirt. It should be made of tightly woven fabric. Face coverings with one-way valves are discouraged as they permit respiratory droplets that may easily escape, placing others at risk.
Who shouldn't wear a mask?
- Children under 2 years old
- Anyone with respiratory issues where it would impede their breathing
- Anyone unable to remove the mask without help
- Anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that does not allow them to wear a mask
How should I care for a cloth face covering?
It's a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, with detergent and hot water. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face. Discard cloth face coverings that:
- Cannot stay on the face
- Do not cover the nose and mouth
- Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
- Have holes or tears in the fabric