(mass.gov) – Learn about wearing face coverings and cloth masks in public, to slow the spread of COVID-19, as required in Governor Baker’s Executive Order.
Effective Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Order requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. Exceptions include children under the age of 2 and those unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition. Full details are outlined in the May 1 Order.
There are many things that you can do to help protect yourself and others from becoming infected with COVID-19. People who show no symptoms of illness may still be able to spread COVID-19. A face covering may help prevent you from spreading COVID-19 to other people.
- A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas.
- Do not use health care worker masks, such as the N95 masks – those should be preserved for healthcare workers.
- It is important that you wear these face coverings or masks in situations where it is difficult to maintain a social distance of six feet from others. For example, in a pharmacy or grocery store.
When you wear a cloth mask, it should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
- Be secured with ties or ear loops,
- Include multiple layers of fabric,
- Allow for breathing without restriction, and
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
When putting on and taking off a mask, do not touch the front of it, you should only handle the ties or ear straps, and make sure you wash the cloth mask regularly. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching the mask.
Cloth masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
There is no information yet if pet animals like dogs or cats need to wear face coverings and there is no evidence that animals play a role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. The CDC says when walking your dog just keep 6 feet distance from other people and animals, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places, and avoid mass gatherings. Do not go to dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather and do not let other people pet your dog when you are out for a walk.
In addition to wearing a cloth mask you should continue to practice proven methods to protect yourself.
- Practice social distancing at all times by remaining 6 feet away from others when you have to leave your home for essential trips.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoiding close contact with others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; using alcohol-based hand gel with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.