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The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing a Mask in NYC

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, wearing a mask has become a crucial part of protecting ourselves and others. In New York City, the rules and guidelines for wearing masks have been updated several times since the start of the pandemic. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when wearing a mask in NYC.


Do Wear a Mask in Public Places

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires everyone to wear a mask when in public places, including on public transportation, in stores, and in crowded outdoor settings. This includes buses, subways, taxis, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Wearing a mask in public is not only mandatory but also crucial to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Do Wash Your Hands Before and After Putting on a Mask

Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before putting on a mask and after taking it off can help prevent the spread of germs. This is especially important when you’re out in public, as you may come into contact with surfaces that could be contaminated with the virus. By washing your hands regularly, you can reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to others.

Do Wear a Mask That Has Multiple Layers

The CDC recommends wearing a mask with two or more layers for the best protection against COVID-19. This is because multiple layers can help filter out more particles, including those that may contain the virus. When choosing a mask, look for one that has at least two layers of fabric, and make sure it fits snugly against your face without gaps.

Do Replace Your Mask When It Becomes Wet or Dirty

A wet or dirty mask can be less effective at preventing the spread of germs, so it’s important to replace your mask when it becomes damp or soiled. This is especially important if you’re out in public and your mask has become wet from rain or sweat. By swapping out your mask for a clean one, you can help keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19.

Do Wear a Mask When Around People Who Are Not Vaccinated

Even if you’re fully vaccinated, it’s still important to wear a mask when around people who are not vaccinated, as they may still be at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. This includes children under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Wearing a mask in these situations can help protect vulnerable populations and prevent the spread of the virus.

Do Consider Wearing a Mask in Certain Situations

While wearing a mask in public places is mandatory, there are some situations where it may be beneficial to wear a mask even when you’re not required to. For example, if you’re attending a crowded outdoor event or visiting a high-risk area, wearing a mask can provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.


Don’t Touch Your Mask While Wearing It

Touching your mask while wearing it can transfer germs from your hands to your face. Avoid touching your mask and adjust it only by the ear loops or ties. If you need to adjust your mask, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching it. This can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other germs.

Don’t Wear a Mask with Valves

Masks with valves allow air to escape, making them less effective at preventing the spread of germs. Choose a mask without a valve for better protection. Valved masks are designed to make breathing easier, but they can also release unfiltered air into the environment. This can potentially spread COVID-19 to others, even if you’re wearing a mask.

Don’t Wear a Mask That Is Too Loose or Too Tight

A mask that is too loose can fall off your face, while a mask that is too tight can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to breathe. When choosing a mask, make sure it fits snugly against your face without being too tight. This can help ensure that it provides adequate protection against COVID-19 while also being comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Don’t Wear Your Mask Under Your Chin

Wearing your mask under your chin can expose your nose and mouth to germs. Always wear your mask over your nose and mouth, and make sure it covers both areas completely. This can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Don’t Share Your Mask with Others

Sharing masks can spread germs between people. Make sure to use your own mask and avoid sharing it with others. If you need to provide a mask to someone else, make sure it’s a clean, unused mask. This can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.


By following these dos and don’ts, you can help protect yourself and others from COVID-19 while wearing a mask in NYC. Remember to continue practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing, and other public health measures to help stop the spread of the virus. Stay safe and stay healthy!

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