COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, shout, or sing. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people who are near you or they may breathe in these droplets. Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others. Studies show that masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
The use of face masks is an important tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you’re not yet fully vaccinated, you should continue to wear a mask to protect yourself and others who have not yet been vaccinated.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, Arlington County recommends following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advises wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
- If you’re not fully vaccinated, it’s important to wear a mask in accordance with CDC recommendations, follow social distancing rules with a distance of 6 feet away from other people, wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face.
- Businesses may choose to require masks in their establishments, and employees who work in certain business sectors may still be required to mask, even if fully vaccinated. For information on employee masking requirements, employers should refer to the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Standard and the FAQ on the DOLI Standard.
- To help ensure a safe start to the school year, masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, when inside APS buildings and on school buses.
- CDC continues to require people to wear masks on planes, buses (including school buses), trains, and other forms of public transportation for anyone 2 and older.
- Use this form to report non-compliance of social distancing practices.
Considerations for Wearing Face Coverings
CDC Guidance for Unvaccinated and Partially Vaccinated People
- If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
- In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People
- Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- If you are fully vaccinated and have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may need to keep taking steps to protect yourself, like wearing a mask. Talk to your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your health and risks.
Wear your Mask Correctly:
✔️ Wash your hands before putting on your mask
✔️ Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
✔️ Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
✔️ Make sure you can breathe easily
✔️ CDC does not recommend use of masks or cloth masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent
Face Covering Distribution Project
Toolkit: Printables and Online Files
Please make use of the following materials in the community to help spread valuable information on staying safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download and print these flyers to share at your business, organization, apartment building, etc.