FACE COVERINGS FAQ
WHAT IS A FACE COVERING?
A face covering is any well-secured paper or cloth that covers your nose and mouth.
WHY WEAR A FACE COVERING?
To protect other people, if you are infected with coronavirus but do not have symptoms. About half of infections are spread by from people that aren’t showing symptoms – so people that don’t know they’re sick are infecting others.
When we speak, cough, or sneeze, we produce droplets. Other people can breathe those droplets in. This is the main way that coronavirus spreads. If you wear a face covering, you can stop up to 99% of these droplets before they reach someone else.
Because face coverings are effective at blocking infection at the source, everyone needs to wear a face covering in public, or else they will put those around them at risk.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WEAR A FACE COVERING?
You should wear a face covering whenever it's difficult to stay 6 feet apart from people you don't live with (social distancing). That means whenever you are in a place that people congregate:
Supermarkets and other stores
Outdoor markets and events
Places of worship
You should take special care to cover your face when you are indoors, because the risk of spreading coronavirus is higher. However, you should always wear a face covering if you are around people you don't live with, even if it's outdoors.
Always bring a face covering with you when you leave your home.
WHY ARE SURGICAL MASKS AND N95S NOT RECOMMENDED?
Surgical masks and N95 respirators are medical-grade masks, designed for use in healthcare settings. They are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers, as recommended by CDC guidance.
You don't need a medical mask to keep people around you safe - a cloth face covering is highly effective.
DOESN’T A FACE COVERING NEED TO BE 100% EFFECTIVE TO BE USEFUL?
No. No face covering is 100% effective. However, research shows that cloth face coverings will reduce the infection rate, as long as most people wear them. It's community protection: we can stop the spread of COVID-19 if we work together.
ISN’T WEARING A FACE COVERING A PERSONAL CHOICE?
Wearing a face covering is about protecting our communities. If you do not wear a face covering when you go to the store, you may be putting other people at risk. We all have to play our part to keep each other safe.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR A FACE COVERING?
Durham's stay-at-home order requires that people wear a face covering whenever they can socially distance. That means places like stores, buses, and anywhere that lots of people congregate.