CDC Face Covering Recommendations

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The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the CDC now recommend that we wear cloth face coverings in public places where we cannot reliably stay six feet away from other people.

From the Washington State DOH:

Washington State is currently experiencing significant community-based transmission of COVID19. Recent information suggests that a significant portion of persons with COVID-19 may not have any symptoms, and even those who do have symptoms can transmit the infection before showing signs of illness.

The Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend that people wear cloth face coverings when they are in public settings where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from others. This might include trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware store, health clinic or similar places.

This recommendation is not a substitute for existing guidance to maintain 6-feet of physical distance from non-household members and performing frequent hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wearing cloth face coverings will not prevent spread of COVID-19 without these other protective measures.

This is not a mandate that you must wear a face covering. It is considered an additional layer of protection.


Our best community and individual defense against COVID-19 is: 

  • Performing frequent hand hygiene, 
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, 
  • Avoiding being around sick people, and 
  • Practicing social distancing, especially by staying at home.

If you wear a face covering, wash your hands before and after touching and adjusting the mask. It is critical that this guidance does not put increased demand on medical grade masks, such as N95 respirators and surgical masks. This guidance is for cloth face coverings only. A strong health care delivery system and emergency response system is also an essential core defense to save lives when people do get ill.

For more information see the Washington State DOH's full recommendation:

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COVID-19 information pages are no longer updated. 

See the CDC's COVID website for current information and trends. 

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