Face coverings

What is a face covering?

A face covering is any paper or cloth (like a bandana or scarf) that is well-secured and covers your nose and mouth.

Plastic shields, typically worn only in health care settings, do not take the place of a face covering.  They are worn as an added measure to protect one's eyes and don't filter air. They serve as a physical barrier to particles that you breathe.  A face covering or mask prevents you from spreading the virus to others.  

Who must wear a face covering?

Everyone must wear a face covering unless they are children under the age of two or unless someone has a health condition or disability that makes it difficult to wear a face covering.

When must a face covering be worn?

A face covering must be worn whenever a person is in public. This includes:

  • On public transportation (such as Ride On, Metro and ride sharing)
  • Entering businesses and services that are open, including
    • grocery stores
    • restaurants, except when eating or drinking
    • retail businesses
    • religious services
    • hair salons and barbershops
    • pools, except when in the water
    • gyms and fitness centers, including when exercising
  • Exercising or interacting with others outdoors, when physical distancing is not possible
  • Outdoor markets, including farmer's markets
  • Child care centers
  • Anywhere in public when physical distancing from others is not possible (including outdoors)

What about children?

Children over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering. Children may be more likely to touch their face covering, so parents and caretakers should wash children's hands or apply hand sanitizer often.

What if I have a health problem that makes it difficult to wear a face covering?

If you have a health issue that makes it difficult to wear a face covering, you are not required to wear one but this makes it very important that you practice physical distancing and hand hygiene.

Do I have to wear a face covering while exercising?

Face coverings are required when exercising indoors at a gym or fitness center.  Face coverings are also required outdoors when exercising. when it is difficult to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between you and others.

Must the face covering cover my nose?

A face covering is fitted properly when it covers your nose and mouth. Do not use a mask with an exhalation valve because it allows unfiltered air that you exhale to escape.

Plastic shields, typically worn only in health care settings by medical professionals, do not take the place of the face covering requirement.  They are worn as an added measure to protect one’s eyes and don’t filter air.  They serve as a physical barrier to particles that you breathe.  A face covering prevents a person from spreading the virus to others.

Do employees need to wear a face covering at work in offices and restaurants and shops?

Workers in shops and restaurants are required to wear face coverings when serving customers and when preparing food.

Child care workers are also required to wear face coverings.

Workers in an office setting are encouraged to wear face coverings if they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing from others.

Face coverings: ensure yours is worn properly! Fits snugly on your face. Covers both your nose and mouth. Worn outdoors and while exercising. Worn anywhere in public that physical distancing is not possible.