How to Wear a Face Covering
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The coronavirus mainly spreads from person to person when they are in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more). The virus is spread through droplets from the nose and mouth of someone with coronavirus when they cough, sneeze, or raise their voice (like when they shout, chant, or sing) near another person.
Many people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms so they may not know that they can spread the virus to others. Wearing a face covering can help protect others in case someone is infected with COVID-19 and does not have symptoms.
A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or wrapped around the lower face. A cloth face covering is not an N95 respirator or surgical masks, which should be reserved for healthcare professionals.
When to Wear Face Covering
It is still safest to stay home when you can. When you leave the house, stay 6 feet apart from people not in your household.
Wear a face covering when you are around other people who are not in your household and cannot stay 6 feet apart, especially when indoors. This can mean when you go into a store, going to the doctor’s office, picking up food at a restaurant, or when you ride the bus.
When You Don't Have to Wear a Face Covering
You do not have to wear a face covering if you are:
- at home
- in the car alone or with members of your household
- swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running alone or with household members
Who Doesn't Have to Wear a Face Covering
The following individuals do not have to wear a face covering:
- children under the age of 2
- anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance
- individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition or developmental disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering
If you cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition, you should wear a non-restrictive alternative like a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as your condition permits.
How to Wear a Face Covering
- Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
- Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Try to fit it snugly against the side of your face
- Make sure you can breathe easily
- If you touch the face covering, wash your hands
- When taking off the face covering, hold it by your ear loops or ties and fold the outside corners together
- Wash fabric face masks after each use. Throw disposable face masks away after you wear them.
- California Department of Public Health face coverings, masks, and respirators
- CDC Guidance on cloth face coverings