Protect Your Health
Masks may help offer protection against COVID-19, and its variants. If you choose to wear a mask, the CDC offers guidance [Español ]to help you achieve the best result.
Situations where you should always wear a mask:
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Until 10 days after a positive COVID-19 test and are around other people. Visit CDC’s website to see how you might be able to stop wearing a mask earlier.
Situations where you may choose wear a mask:
- After an exposure to someone with COVID-19, and are around other people, particularly those who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
Masking based on COVID-19 Community Level
Community Levels are a tool that can help individuals and communities decide what prevention steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
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 mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection, like an N95 or KN95 , indoors in public.
Setting Specific Guidance
CDC Community Congregate Living Settings (e.g., Group Homes, Assisted Living)
CDC Correctional Facilities and Homeless Shelters
Masks at the Workplace:
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Guidance for Employers to Mitigate the Risk of COVID-19 to Workers (PDF) (3pp, 149KB)
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: March 17, 2023
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