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Cloth Face Coverings

The Do’s and Don’ts of wearing them

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Updated 6/3/2020

The Governor’s statewide requirement that all employees wear face coverings in their workplace goes into effect June 8. This seems like a good time to review the Do’s and Don’ts of wearing cloth face coverings.

DO cover your face with a couple layers of cloth while in public places.

DO wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you put your mask on and after you take it off.

DO wash your cloth face covering in a washing machine after a day’s use.

DO take a cloth face covering with you if you are hiking or visiting a park. Although you do not need to wear one outside, you may find that you need to come within 6 feet of someone else on a trail. At that point, put your cloth face covering on, say hello, and carry on.

DO make sure the cloth face covering covers both your mouth and nose.

DON’T wear surgical-grade masks or N95 respirators. We need to reserve those for health care and other frontline workers.

DON’T think that wearing cloth face masks means we can gather in large groups of people. For most of the state, all gatherings are prohibited. For the counties that are in Phase 2, all gatherings of more than 5 people outside your household are prohibited.

DON’T think that wearing a cloth face mask makes it safe to come within six feet of other people. At best, a cloth face covering is just one added level of precaution. It doesn’t really help unless we are also washing our hands, staying home when we are sick, and practicing physical distancing.

DON’T wear a cloth face covering while exercising outdoors. It’s not dangerous, just annoying and not necessary.

DON’T put a cloth face covering on a child under age 2 or on a person with a disability that keeps them from being able to remove it.

DON’T touch your cloth face covering after you put it on. Try not to touch your face at all.

DON’T worry that a cloth face covering might restrict your oxygen. It’s not airtight. If you ever feel like you’re having trouble breathing, remove the cloth face covering and sit down. If the feeling persists, call 911.

Practice compassion. Remember, wearing a cloth face covering is an act of compassion. We cover our faces to protect others. There is no public health reason to wear a cloth face covering if you are alone in your car, in your own home, or around members of your own household. (Unless you just want to because it’s comfortable and looks awesome. That’s cool.)

More information

Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at .

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at . You can also contact our call center at
1–800–525–0127. Hours: 6 am-10 pm, seven days a week.

Department of Health call center: 1–800–525–0127, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days a week

Public Health Connection

From the Washington State Department of Health

Washington State Department of Health

Written by

Protecting and improving the health of people in Washington State.

Public Health Connection

From the Washington State Department of Health

Washington State Department of Health

Written by

Protecting and improving the health of people in Washington State.

Public Health Connection

From the Washington State Department of Health

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