Situations where you should always wear a mask:
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19
- If you are in the 10 days after a positive COVID-19 test and are around other people, or Isolation Calculator
- If you are in the 10 days after an exposure to someone with COVID-19 and are around other people Quarantine Calculator
Masking based on COVID-19 Community Level
Community Levels are a tool that can help individuals and communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data.
Low Community Level
- Wear a mask based on your personal preference and your level of risk of developing severe illness .
Medium Community Level
- If you have a weakened immune system or at high risk for severe illness , talk to your healthcare provider about additional precautions, such as wearing masks or respirators indoors in public
- If you live with or have social contact with someone at high risk for severe illness , consider testing yourself for infection before you get together and wearing a mask when indoors with them
High Community Level
- CDC recommends that you wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk (including in K-12 schools and other community settings)
- If you have a weakened immune system or at high risk for severe illness , wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection, like an N95 or KN95
Situations where masks are required
- As of April 18, 2022, the CDC Mask Order that required masks on public transportation is no longer in effect. CDC continues to recommend that everyone age two and older wear a mask while using indoor public transportation (airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and rideshares, as well as in airports and stations). Check the individual website of your transportation choice to review any mask requirements.
- Some localities, local businesses, and other settings may still require masks. Follow any applicable rules or ordinances.
Setting Specific Guidance
Masks at the Workplace
As of March 23, 2022, the Virginia Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19 (“Virginia Standard”) is no longer in effect. See DOLI Announcements for further COVID-19 updates and guidance from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. Workplaces are encouraged to establish a COVID-19 mask policy that aligns with current CDC guidance.
Certain people should not wear a mask:
- Children under the age of 2 years should not wear a mask.
- People should not wear masks while sleeping; masks should not be placed on any child when the child is sleeping.
- People who have trouble breathing, are incapacitated, or who are otherwise unable to remove the mask without help should not wear a mask.
- People with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability.
Masks should not be worn when participating in certain sport scenarios, including gymnastics, cheerleading (when tumbling/stunting), wrestling (unless mask use is closely supervised), swimming, diving, or other water sports.
Page Last Reviewed: May 5, 2022
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