Face Coverings

Face Coverings

graphic of a face covering

COVID-19 facts

  • People that have no symptoms can still spread COVID-19.
  • A face covering is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
  • A state order requires everyone over age 2 who can medically tolerate a face covering to wear one when outside their home if unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.
  • We strongly recommend wearing a face covering as much as possible when you are with other people in an indoor setting that is not your home, even if 6 feet of distance can be maintained.
  • Continue to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others even when wearing a face covering.

What are face coverings and how do they work?

A face covering is a well-secured cloth covering or disposable mask that covers your nose and mouth. Face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Protecting the wearer, by reducing their exposure to respiratory particles that may contain the virus.
  • Protecting others, by reducing the amount of respiratory particles that enter the air when someone with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, talks or breathes.

What type of face coverings should I use?

  • Use a face covering with two or three layers of material to better prevent unfiltered air from passing through.
  • You can get better protection by wearing two face coverings (a cloth mask over a disposable mask), which improves the fit and adds layers.
  • Do not use a face covering with an exhalation valve as it allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape.
  • A face shield cannot be used instead of a face covering.
  • If you are at higher risk of exposure or severe illness from COVID-19, consider using two face coverings or a single higher-grade mask, such as a KN95.
  • Do not use N95 respirators, as they remain in short supply. It is essential that we save N95 respirators for our health care workers.

Care instructions

  • Cloth face covering: Wash once a day or after about eight hours of use, by hand or machine using detergent. Wear only when dry.
  • Disposable face covering: Reusable up to 5 days. Discard in the trash it becomes damaged, dirty, or wet.
  • Do not put face coverings where others can touch them or where germs trapped in your face covering can touch other surfaces, such as countertops or your kitchen table.

Learn more

Learn more about wearing face coverings during the COVID-19 public health emergency.