Effective Dec. 14, 2020, all Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors and unable to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from other individuals who are not members of their household.*
As detailed in the Governor’s Executive Order Seventy-Two, this expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, 2020, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household.
These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released Dec. 4, 2020, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings: “Consistent and correct use of face masks is a public health strategy critical to reducing respiratory transmission of SARS-CoV-2, particularly in light of estimates that approximately one half of new infections are transmitted by persons who have no symptoms (2,3). Compelling evidence now supports the benefits of cloth face masks for both source control (to protect others) and, to a lesser extent, protection of the wearer.”
*This restriction does not apply to persons inside their personal residence. Individuals may remove face coverings to participate in a religious ritual.
The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to the following: While eating or drinking; Individuals exercising or using exercise equipment; Any person playing a musical instrument when wearing a mask or face covering would inhibit the playing of the instrument (e.g. wind instrument) so long as at least 10 feet of physical distancing can be maintained from other persons, whether indoors or outdoors; Any person who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance; Any person seeking to communicate with the hearing impaired and for which the mouth needs to be visible; When temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to secure government or medical services; Persons with health conditions or disabilities that prohibit wearing a face covering.
Considerations for Wearing Face Coverings
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 these droplets in.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- People age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.
- Masks offer some protection to you and are also meant to protect those around you, in case you are unknowingly infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- A mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing. Masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol after touching or removing your mask.
- Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with other people who live in your household. However, some localities may have mask mandates while out in public and these mandates should always be followed.
- CDC is still studying the effectiveness of different types of masks and will update our recommendations as new scientific evidence becomes available.
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
How to Get a Face Covering
Arlington County partnered with nearly 70 community organizations to distribute over 40,000 face coverings through churches, synagogues, non-profits and PTAs, ensuring masks for individuals in our community most at risk or who may not otherwise have access. We are not able to provide a mask to every County resident.
If you’d like to support a local business by purchasing masks, please see the list of participating businesses below:
Local Arlington Businesses
Chains, With Arlington Locations
If your business is selling or providing face coverings, please let us know so we can add you to our list!
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.
Face Coverings Required Beyond This Point
In accordance with Executive Order Sixty-Three, Virginians are required to wear face coverings in public indoor settings.
VDH Please Wear a Face Covering Posters
A guide to how to wear your face covering face covering correctly.