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Summit County Emergency Blog

Emergency blog
Activated during disasters and emergencies to provide critical public information. Administered by the Summit County Office of Emergency Management.

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Apr 04

Covering Your Face in Public

Posted on April 4, 2020 at 2:32 PM by Julie Sutor

Should I wear a cloth face cover while out in the community shopping for essential goods?

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This recommendation is based on new evidence showing that persons without COVID-19 symptoms can spread the virus without knowing it. The virus is believed to be spread person-to-person, through respiratory droplets.

Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing. It is critical to remember that maintaining at least 6 feet of social distance continues to be the most important strategy for limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Face coverings are an additional voluntary public health measure to help control the spread of this virus. Community members can fashion cloth face coverings from household items or make them at home from common materials at low cost.

PLEASE NOTE: Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance.

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

Tips, instructions and information resources for effectively making and wearing a cloth face covering:
  • How to make a cloth face cover
  • For a face covering to be effective, it is important to put it on and take it off properly. The key to taking it off is not to touch the outer portion of the cover which may have virus on it. Here is a good instructional video by National Jewish Health.
  • Wash the face covering routinely depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly cleaning a face covering. If you do not have a washing machine, wash vigorously by hand, using soap and hot water.


Remember, face coverings do not provide 100% safety from transmission so it is important to continue to follow the Public Health Orders:

If sick, please stay at home! Save lives!
  • Ask a friend or loved one to purchase and deliver essential products when needed.
  • Or call Summit County at 970 668-2940 for support services.
If feeling well:
  • Adhere to the stay-at-home orders. Only leave your home for essential needs and outdoor exercise with strict adherence to social distancing guidelines. If you must go out, a face covering is recommended. When it comes to exercising with a face covering, use discretion so that the face covering does not interfere with your breathing.
  • Keep at least 6 feet from persons outside of your immediate household.
  • Practice frequent handwashing or application of hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Do not touch your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue, and throw it out immediately. Or cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm.

For more information about wearing a face cover, visit CDC's recommendations on cloth face coverings.