Face Coverings


Face Mask Guidance

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted May 14 to follow the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and no longer require people who are fully vaccinated to wear a face mask in Pima County.

Since there are still a few hundred thousand people in the county who have yet to be vaccinated, the Board passed Resolution No. 2021-35 that recommends the unvaccinated and people who are between their first and second doses of the vaccine to keep wearing their face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Board’s vote repealed Resolution 2020-96, which mandated mask wearing. The new resolution follows the CDC’s masking guidance released May 13, and the Public Health Advisory issued May 14 by Health Director Dr. Theresa Cullen.

The Advisory defined fully vaccinated as: People who are two weeks past their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; and people who are two weeks past a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

There are still instances where it will be recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear face masks. The Board resolution, the CDC, and the County Public Health Advisory recommend mask wearing in the following circumstances:

  • People who are not fully vaccinated.
  • People on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in transportation hubs such as airports, bus, train or other transit stations.
  • Residents and employees of correctional facilities, homeless shelters, congregate living facilities and health care facilities regardless of vaccination status.
  • Students, teachers, school administrators and staff should continue mask use in accordance with the CDC’s school guidance.
  • People who are attending large indoor events that have more than 1,000 people attending.
People who are vaccinated and develop symptoms of COVID-19 should resume mask use and get tested for COVID-19. Fully vaccinated individuals who are immune-compromised, including those undergoing transplant or cancer treatment, should seek the guidance of their clinical care team before discontinuing mask use.

For people who for a variety of reasons delayed getting a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or who chose not to get it, who now want to get their second dose so they don’t have to wear a mask, Dr. Cullen said second doses can be administered even if several months have passed since the first shot. Anyone seeking a vaccination can go to www.pima.gov/covid19vaccine to find a location nearest to them. Most no longer require an appointment.


More about face coverings

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Should Not Wear a Face Cover?

  • Children under age 2.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

How can I select and get the best protection from my mask?

Wearing a mask around people who do not live with you or when someone in your house is sick is now even more critical with the increased spread of new COVID-19 variants, some of which appear to spread more easily and quickly than the original virus that causes COVID-19.

Masks work best when everyone wears them, but masks vary in how much protection they offer the wearer and others around them. When choosing a mask, it is important to consider how well it fits, how many layers it has, and how well it filters the air.

To help make sure your mask works the best it can:

  • Pick one that fits snugly against your nose, mouth and chin with no gaps that allow air to leak around the edges. 
    • Masks with a nose wire strip across the top and wearing a mask brace over the mask can help ensure a snug fit. Knotting and tucking the ear loops of a 3-ply disposable mask can help improve its fit. Here are video instructions on how to do this
  • Pick a mask with layers of material. Add layers by using a cloth mask with multiple layers or wear a disposable mask under a cloth mask. The top mask should push the edges of the inner one against your face. (Don’t combine 2 disposable masks or combine a KN95 mask with any other mask.) Masks with inner filter pockets are also good options. Make sure you can see and breathe easily with your mask. 
The CDC offers helpful guidance on wearing masks and on improving the fit of your mask and pros and cons of different kinds of masks.

 

How should I care for a cloth face covering?

It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.

Discard cloth face coverings that:

  • No longer cover the nose and mouth
  • Have stretched out or damaged ties or straps
  • Cannot stay on the face
  • Have holes or tears in the fabric

What is the proper way to wear a cloth face covering?

  • Wash your hands before putting it on.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth - the top should sit on the bridge of your nose and the bottom should rest under your chin.
  • It should fit snugly against your face with no gaps or slipping down.
  • You should be able to breathe easily.
  • Reusable face covers should be washed with detergent or soap every night and allowed to dry completely before wearing again.

If you find yourself constantly adjusting your face cover, alter it or get a new one to reduce the number of times you touch your face.


Where's the scientific evidence? 

There is scientific evidence to suggest that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Their primary role is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.

A June 11, 2020 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded: “…wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with simultaneous social distancing, quarantine, and contact tracing, represents the most likely fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Below is additional research that supports the use of face coverings:

Facemask Instructions 1 Facemask Instructions 2

What is a cloth face covering?

A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.

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