Wearing face masks has become a daily routine for people all over the world. In the United States, many businesses, cities and states have set strict rules for wearing face masks, especially as America starts to reopen. Face covering rests on a delicate balance between health and safety, and social etiquette. Depending on where you live, work and shop, it’s important to understand when you should cover your face, and why.
Why wear a mask or other face covering?
Even if you’re not fearful of catching the virus, it’s important to remember that wearing a face covering, particularly a non-medical mask or scarf, is mostly intended to protect others from YOU. Non-medical masks, such as the ones we sell, are primarily worn to trap larger droplets from coughs and sneezes, so that people are less likely to spread the virus while in public or in close spaces. Non-medical masks also protect your nose and mouth from dust, pollen, allergies, haze, exhaust, smoke and other substances.
What’s just as important is that wearing a face covering “fosters a sense of faith, a shared or mutual obligation and civic duty.” Read more here. Covering your face shows that you care about public health and you’re following guidelines set in place by the CDC and health officials.
While some cities and states are more relaxed with face coverings and other coronavirus prevention measures, others are implementing strict rules, fines and even possible jail time for non-compliance. Some businesses will not allow customers in without a face mask, and there have been many news reports across the US showing protests against mandates for face covering in public.
Outside of the legal implications, it’s now also a social expectation to cover our faces to protect those around us.
What do non-medical masks protect you from?
As stated above, non-medical masks protect your nose and mouth from dust, pollen, allergies, haze, exhaust, smoke and other substances. In the prevention against the spread of COVID-19, these lightweight face coverings are intended to capture droplets from coughs and sneezes. The more people wearing masks, the less likely COVID-19 can spread from one person to another.
N95 masks and respirators, on the other hand, are examples of personal protective equipment that protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that the general public wear N95 masks. These critical supplies should be reserved for health care workers and medical responders.
People are covering their faces with things like:
- Painter’s masks
- Non-medical face masks
- Homemade cloth masks
Where should you wear a mask?
The CDC recommends that everyone wear a face covering in any setting where social distancing is not an option. Examples of very close spaces include planes, cars (especially Ubers and taxis), elevators and similar spaces. Other indoor spaces you should wear a mask include restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores and post offices. Most businesses are following social distancing guidelines as they re-open, but customers should protect themselves and staff members of these businesses by wearing a mask indoors.
Face masks are highly recommended, and in some places are required in:
- Grocery stores
- Post offices
- Convenience stores
- Ubers and taxis
- Other close spaces where it is not as easy to maintain 6 feet of distance
Where you can be more relaxed about covering your face:
Most people can relax with face covering etiquette in outdoor spaces that allow air to flow more freely, and where people can easily distance themselves by 6 feet. You can be less concerned with covering your face when:
- Taking a walk or jog in your neighborhood
- Going to a beach or public park
- Visiting your local zoo
- In other wide open spaces that make it easier to maintain a safe distance
What states are requiring people to wear a face covering?
All Americans are recommended to wear face coverings in public places and confined spaces, but some states have taken it a step further. The list of states requiring face masks includes Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Moreover, as of April 20th, essential business customers in Hawaii could face a $5,000 fine, or a year in jail, if they do not wear a face mask and maintain 6-foot distance.
Coronavirus prevention measures can change from day to day, and in places like Palo Alto, California, people are now required to wear a mask or face covering for most public activities. San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco counties also now require face coverings, with violations punishable as misdemeanors. From California, all the way to Florida, there are strict measures to enforce the use of face coverings in public.
If you plan to go out in public or to an essential business, make sure you’re aware of your area’s latest rules for face coverings. You may even want to call your grocery store or other business before you go, to know whether they’re requiring masks for entry.
Who is generally not required to wear a mask in public?
It’s important to check your state and city orders, but generally those exempt from wearing a face covering are:
- Children younger than two years of age
- Anyone for whom a face covering would cause impairment due to an existing health condition
- Those who work in a profession who do not have any face-to-face interactions with the public
- Anyone working in a profession where use of a face covering will not be compatible with the duties of the profession
- Anyone exercising, while observing social distancing in accordance with the CDC guidelines
How can you find out what your local rules for face covering are?
It can be tricky to understand what is a suggestion, and what is a requirement. In DC, for example, a discrepancy between the mayor’s verbal and written guidance has caused confusion for customers of essential businesses. This confusion resulted in grocery shoppers without face coverings being turned away.
You can stay on top of the latest orders and news in your area by checking your city’s website. Your city’s website will likely also offer a COVID-19 dashboard, the latest news updates about the pandemic, and new testing sites. If you are local to Northeast Florida for example, check Jacksonville’s COJ.net.
About Our Face Masks at HC Brands:
- Made of 100% 2-ply polyester
- Very comfortable & easy to wear
- Very soft, breathable and washable
- Feature elastic ear bands
- Protect your mouth & face from dust, cold, pollen, allergies, haze, exhaust emissions, passive smoking, Etc.
- Available in fun designs, colors or design-your-own style
You can also find designs that make face-covering fun. Shop emojis, animal prints, unicorns and more!
Our non-medical face masks are lightweight, machine washable and easy to wear. We also offer bulk discounts! Whether you’re shopping for your family or for your staff, you can get comfortable masks that help prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
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