Should I wear a mask or face covering when I go out in public?

Gov. Kemp, officials urge Georgians to wear face coverings to fight COVID-19

(From the Office of the Governor, gov.georgia.gov)

Governor Brian P. Kemp, Dr. Kathleen Toomey, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) urge all Georgians to continue to follow safe daily habits to reduce our risk of exposure to COVID-19 and keep the virus from spreading. Wear a face covering in public settings, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.

A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting where social distancing may be difficult, such as in the grocery store, picking up food at a restaurant, or riding public transportation and especially in areas of widespread community transmission of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may be infected and not know it from transmitting it to others.

The use of cloth face coverings does not take the place of social distancing. Stay at least six feet from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places, and avoid mass gatherings.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — at least 60% alcohol — when soap and water are not readily available. Practice good health hygiene, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

For more information about COVID-19, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

For updates on COVID-19, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and @GovKemp on Twitter and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.


More information from experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities. The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected. 

A significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  

In light of this new evidence, CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Cloth face coverings 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.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. 

CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Cloth face coverings 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
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

How can I make a face covering?

The CDC lists several ways to create face coverings, from sew to no sew methods, at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

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