Arlington Encourages Use of Cloth Face Coverings

Published on April 07, 2020

Arlington County is encouraging all Arlingtonians to wear cloth face coverings when in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

This directive is in accordance with a new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which encourages the cloth face coverings in public (e.g. grocery stores and pharmacies).

To be clear, this is not meant as a replacement to staying at home, handwashing or maintaining six feet of distance — those remain the cornerstones in the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Why Do You Need to Wear Cloth Face Coverings?

There is now evidence that people with coronavirus can transmit it to others before showing symptoms ("asymptomatic" or "pre-symptomatic"). The use of a cloth face covering can help to slow the spread, particularly among those who have the virus and do not know it.

To be clear: the cloth face covering is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.

What Type of Cloth Face Covering Should be Worn?

The suggested cloth face coverings, fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials, are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators — those are critical supplies needed by healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

The CDC offers three types of cloth face coverings for use:

  • Sewn Cloth Face Covering

  • Quick Cut T-shirt Face Covering (no sew method)

  • Bandana Face Covering (no sew method)

All cloth face coverings should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

  • be secured with ties or ear loops

  • include multiple layers of fabric

  • allow for breathing without restriction

  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

CDC: How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering | Printer friendly version | Espanol

All cloth face coverings should be cleaned routinely in a washing machine. Individuals should avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth when wearing or removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

CDC: Cloth Face Coverings: Questions and Answers

For more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how you can help protect yourself and those around you, visit

For questions about COVID-19, call the Arlington County COVID-19 Information Line at 703-228-7999.