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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Frequently Asked Questions

   
Six Things You Need to Know about Cloth Face Coverings

  1. How do cotton-based face coverings prevent the spread of the coronavirus and help protect my community and co-workers?
  2. Now that I am using the cloth face covering, do I still need to practice social distancing?
  3. How is this face covering different from a home-made cloth face covering?
  4. How do I put on and care for your cloth face covering?
  5. Can I personalize the face covering?
  6. Who can request the face  coverings?



     
  1. How do cotton-based face coverings prevent the spread of the coronavirus and help protect my community?

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with each other. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets, which are produced when you talk, sneeze or cough. Even a person who has the disease but shows no symptoms can spread the disease. When we all work together to stop the spread, our communities can become healthier.

Wearing a cloth face covering prevents the spread of these droplets from your nose or mouth to others. By blocking these droplets, you are reducing the risk of spreading the virus to others and taking an important step to help keep your community and co-workers safe.


  1. Now that I am using the cloth face covering, do I still need to practice social distancing?

Yes, cloth face coverings are an important tool to help complement other actions you are already taking to protect your community and workplace. Everyone should follow the CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as practicing social distancing, washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, disinfecting commonly used services, and avoiding touching your face.

When you have to leave your home for essential travel, please make sure to wear a cloth face covering to help protect your community and your workplace.


  1. How is this face covering different from a home-made cloth face covering?

The face coverings you received are 100% cotton, but they also contain silver and copper which help kill or stop the growth of viruses and germs.

If you find you are sensitive to the materials that are used in the production of the face covering, please stop wearing it. Other kinds of cloth face coverings also provide protection, and it is easy to make your own.


  1. How do I put on and care for your cloth face covering?

Properly putting on your face covering and taking it off is very simple – but you need to take some precautions to avoid contaminating your cloth face covering.

Check out our guidance to learn about the three steps to put on the face coverings, three steps to take off the face coverings and three things you need to do to keep it clean.


  1. Can I personalize the face covering?

We do not recommend that you alter the face coverings. Embellishing the face covering could restrict airflow and dyes may harm the protective materials used in the face covering, making the face coverings less effective.

     
  1. Who can request the face coverings?

State, local, tribal and territorial government representatives may request face coverings by contacting their respective FEMA regional representative. Requests from companies and other entities within specific infrastructure sectors (such as food and agriculture; energy; water and waste water systems; transportation systems; chemical, emergency  services and communications) should be submitted to local and state emergency management officials or other agencies as determined by the state, tribe or territory.  Federal partners can submit requests for face coverings to FEMA-NRCC-NRCSD@fema.dhs.gov .


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  • This page last reviewed: May 06, 2020