Skip to main content

Masks: Dos & Don’ts

It is easy to be confused by guidance that changes over time or differs by state or even by county, but it is still a good idea to wear a well-fitted mask in public, especially if you have not been vaccinated. Wearing a mask can help maximize protection from circulating variants and can help prevent spreading the virus to others. COVID-19 is still circulating, and people are still getting sick and dying.

Even if you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends wearing a mask:

  • on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation
  • in some healthcare settings
  • in schools (K-12)
  • indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission
  • where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance

Even if you are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, you may want to continue to wear a mask if you or someone in your family has a weakened immune system or is unvaccinated. It is also important to continue to wash hands frequently, cover coughs/sneezes, and stay home when sick.

Dos Don’ts
Do wear a face mask in public around others who do not live in your household Don’t stop social distancing (stay at least 6 feet apart)
Do wear a mask that fits snuggly from nose to chin Don’t wear your mask below the nose, around your neck, or on your forehead
Do stay at least 6 feet apart from others in public Don’t take your mask off in public if you are within 6 feet of others
Do wash cloth masks daily or when soiled Don’t continue to use a mask that is dirty, damaged, or ripped
Do wash your hands frequently Don’t touch your mask more than necessary 
Do wear a mask consistently and correctly to stop respiratory droplets from getting inside or escaping from your mask Don’t use a single-layer cloth mask or other loose-fitting mask

Do talk to a healthcare professional if you have symptoms of either COVID-19 or flu


Updated July 2021

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Additional Resources

How To Talk about COVID-19

NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD, offers practical communication advice based on 4 core principles outlined in the NFID consensus report, COVID-19 Communications: Promoting Prevention Measures and Vaccine Confidence …