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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Do Your Part to Slow the Spread

Use a Face Mask to Limit the Spread of the Coronavirus

Alternate Language Icon  Español: Contribuya a detener la propagación del virus​

As America begins to open up, we must continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that our neighbors, healthcare workers, frontline care givers, factory workers and others taking extra steps to help the people in their communities and workplaces can stay healthy and safe. Whether your state has begun to reopen or not, wearing a cloth face mask can help protect others in your community and workplace.

Researchers now know that people infected with the coronavirus may not show any symptoms, but these asymptomatic individuals can still transmit the disease to others. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear. That’s why everyone should wear a face mask in public places, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, where it is harder to maintain social distancing measures. Face masks can also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Your face mask protects everyone around you; and theirs protects you. So, how about covering for your community and workplace?

Here are three things you can do to prevent the spread of the coronavirus:

Person talking on cell phone

1. Keep Physical Distance, but Emotional Connection!

Remaining connected is critical, but you don’t have to be in the same place.

Use technology to stay closely connected to others, while staying at home most of the time.  If you must make essential travel, please wear a face mask when outside of your home.

2. Cover for Your Community!

Whether we are going to work, seeking medical care, or shopping for groceries, many of us will have to leave our homes at some point.

If you must go out, cover for your community and co-workers. Make sure you wear a cloth face mask, stay at least six feet away from others, and take other steps to limit the spread of the virus.

hand washing

3. Wash Your Hands Well and Often!

Washing your hands well and often with soap and water is a key step in preventing the spread of COVID-19. If you can’t wash your hands, using hand sanitizer is a good alternative that can also help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Take some time to sanitize surfaces you’ve touched, like steering wheels and door handles.

Wearing a face mask is an additional preventive measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. To find out more about ways you can help slow the spread of the virus, see CDC’s How to Protect Yourself and Others.


  • This page last reviewed: August 20, 2021