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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Frequently Asked Questions

   
Nine Things You Need to Know about Cloth Face Masks

  1. Are you continuing to take new requests for cloth face masks??
  2. How do cotton-based face masks prevent the spread of the coronavirus and help protect my community and co-workers?
  3. Now that I am using the cloth face maskg, do I still need to practice social distancing?
  4. How is this face mask different from a home-made cloth face mask?
  5. How do I put on and care for your cloth face mask?
  6. Can I personalize the face mask?
  7. If my business or facility does not need the full amount of face masks we received, can I sell the excess face masks?
  8. I have ordered my cloth face mask, but it has not come yet. How long does it typically take the cloth face masks to arrive?
  9. How can I check on the status of my request for cloth face masks?




  1. Are you continuing to accept requests for cloth face masks?

The Federal Government is not accepting new requests for cloth face masks at this time. The demand for the face masks has exceeded supply. We are currently assessing the requests we have already received and are prioritizing delivery to support populations most susceptible to the disease. If you have submitted a request, we ask that you allow 10-15 business days for processing and determination on whether your order can be fulfilled.


  1. How do cotton-based face masks 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 do things such as 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 mask 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 mask, do I still need to practice social distancing?

Yes, cloth face masks 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 mask to help protect your community and your workplace.


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

The face masks 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 mask, please stop wearing it. Other kinds of cloth face masks also provide protection, and it is easy to make your own.


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

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

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


  1. Can I personalize the face mask?

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


  1. If my business or facility does not need the full amount of face masks we received, can I sell the excess face masks?

No; do not sell any face masks you receive. Should you have face masks that are not needed by your business or facility, we encourage you to share them with other businesses or facilities in your community. Additionally, you may return the unused face masks to your state health department for re-issue.


  1. I have ordered my cloth face mask, but it has not come yet. How long does it typically take the cloth face masks to arrive?

We are currently assessing requests on hand and prioritizing delivery to support populations most susceptible to the disease. If you have submitted a request, we ask that you allow 10-15 business days for processing and determination on whether your order can be fulfilled.


  1. How can I check on the status of my request for cloth face masks?

To check on the status of your request for a cloth face mask, please contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary's Operations Center.


Got Questions?

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  • This page last reviewed: August 05, 2020