COVID-19 Resources

Face coverings are critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Wear one at all times when outside your home and around other people, and even while at home if you are with people you don’t live with or if you or someone you live with is sick, recently tested positive for COVID-19, or was recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Face coverings save lives – wear one and wear it correctly: snug against your face and covering both your nose and mouth.

What is a face covering and how do they work?

  • A face covering is a well-secured cloth covering or disposable mask that covers your nose and mouth. Face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by: Protecting the wearer, by reducing their exposure to respiratory particles that may contain the virus.
  • Protecting others, by reducing the amount of respiratory particles that enter the air when someone with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, talks or breathes.

Some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms but can still spread the virus, which is why it’s important for everyone to wear a face covering, even if they don’t feel sick.

What type of face covering should I use?

Not all face coverings provide the same amount of protection. When selecting a face covering, consider the following:

  • Do not use a face covering with an exhalation valve as it allows unfiltered exhaled air to escape.
  • Use a face covering with two or three layers of material to better prevent unfiltered air from passing through. You can also use a cloth face covering over a disposable mask.
  • Use face coverings made of tightly woven fabric (fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source). Face coverings should be made of breathable fabric (like cotton), and not of leather, plastic or other materials that make it hard to breathe.
  • Make sure the face covering fits snugly against the sides of your face and fully covers both your nose and mouth, without slipping. Face coverings that fit loosely allow respiratory droplets to enter and leak out.
  • Here are some tips to help ensure a snug fit:
  • Wear a cloth face covering over a disposable mask. o Wear a face covering with a nose wire.
  • Wear a face mask fitter or brace.
  • Knot the ear loops and fold or tuck extra material.

Consider using higher-grade masks, such as a KN95 mask, which is similar in design and function to N95 respirators used by healthcare workers.

  • N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare settings. As always, we are grateful for your service to New York City during this unprecedented crisis, and we thank you for your dedication and partnership as we work to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are 65 or older or have an underlying medical condition that increases your risk of severe COVID19, you need to be extra careful. Also, people who care for someone who is sick and people who are in prolonged close contact with non-household members while indoors (such as people who regularly work in-person with members of the public and people riding subways, airplanes, buses or other public transportation) may need added protection. In such cases, consider wearing two masks (a cloth covering over a disposable mask) or using a higher-grade mask like a KN95 mask.

How do I wear two face coverings?

Wearing two face coverings can provide you and others with added protection by increasing the number of layers of material and making for a snugger fit. When wearing two face coverings, consider the following:

  • Use one cloth face covering and one disposable mask. The disposable mask should be worn underneath and the cloth face covering on top.
  • Do not use two disposable masks.
  • Do not use a face covering over or under a KN95 mask. A KN95 should be worn alone.

Do I need to wear a face covering while at work?

You must wear a face covering at work, unless you are certain you can maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others (including co-workers, customers, clients and visitors). Employers must provide face coverings to employees for free. Your employer may have additional requirements as to when a face covering, or other protection, is needed. Even if 6 feet of distance can be maintained, wearing a face covering as much as possible when working indoors and around other people is strongly recommended. If you cannot medically tolerate a face covering, discuss with your employer whether a reasonable accommodation is possible.

I had COVID-19 and am better now.Do I still need to wear a face covering?

Yes. The NYS requirement for wearing a face covering applies even if you had COVID-19.

I was vaccinated against COVID-19. Do I still need to wear a face covering?

Yes. We need to be cautious until more people are vaccinated and until there has been more time for us to better understand the impact of the vaccines on the spread of COVID-19. As such, you must still wear a face covering and practice physical distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures after being vaccinated.

More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

COVID-19 Facemask Instructions

PDF icon covid-19-two-face-coverings.pdf
COVID-19 Face Covering Instructions

To learn more see the following:

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