A woman and man wearing face masks while sitting outdoors.
Healthy Living

Face Masks: When and Where to Wear One

Oct 22 2020

Even though we have so much still to learn about COVID-19, more and more studies are showing us that face masks are helping to slow the spread of this virus.

However, there is unfortunately a lot of misinformation flying around. This makes it challenging to know when and where you should be wearing a face mask during this pandemic.

In general, always wear a face mask in all public places when it is hard to distance yourself from others. There are also a few more additions to this rule.

Learn the other situations where you should put on your face mask to stay safe.

When it’s the law to wear one

Some state, city and county governments have been requiring people in their communities to wear face masks when in public. In some cases, not following this rule can result in a fine or other legal action. Always have a mask on you just to be safe. And stay up to date on local face mask laws in your area.

When required in a public place

Many retailers such as home improvement stores, clothing chains, local small businesses, restaurants and grocery stores are requiring their guests to wear face masks when visiting their locations. This is to help keep their employees and customers as safe as possible.

This also includes government buildings such as courthouses and post offices. Not sure about the requirements of a place you’re heading? Call ahead to ask or look for signage on their door. Some places have an employee at the entrance designated to make sure people are following these new rules.

When in a public place with other people

If you are in a public place that isn’t requiring face masks, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one. This is especially true when indoors. Wearing a face mask at all times around others helps keep you, others and your community safe and healthy.

When outside and close to others

When outdoors, you don’t need to wear a face mask most of the time. However, this changes when you are within six feet or less of people not in your immediate household.

It could be hiking on a busy trail or strolling down a crowded sidewalk. Even once you leave the indoor space of a grocery store, its parking lot could be crowded.

Always be sure to have a face mask close by. And pay attention to your governor or county leadership about any restrictions they have in place regarding face masks in public outdoor spaces.

When you’re in close quarters with others

Taking any ride shares or riding in an elevator any time soon? Whenever you are in a confined space with someone who isn’t part of your immediate household, you will want to wear a face mask. This is especially true for common areas in apartment buildings. Even if masking up in these situations is not required, it may prevent someone from getting this virus.

When you can take your mask off

Wearing a face mask might be annoying, but it is critical at this time for everyone’s safety.

While there are many places and situations when you’ll need to wear a face mask, there are a few cases when you won’t wear one.

  • When you’re out running or participating in strenuous exercise that affects breathing
  • When you’re only around people you’ve been quarantined with
  • When you’re eating or drinking in a public place, like a restaurant or cafe
  • When you’re outside in your own yard or are taking a walk through your community and no one else is around, such as during the evening
  • When you have a mental or physical disability that prevents you from removing the mask if necessary
  • When you have a medical condition that causes breathing problems
  • When you’re in an outdoor area and are able to stay at least six feet away from others, such as at a beach or park

Visit us at BonSecours.com if you have questions about face masks, the symptoms of COVID-19 or when to seek care.

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