When Should You Wear a Mask?  

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is much more infectious than previous versions. Vaccines prevent serious disease requiring hospitalization in most cases, but protection against mild to moderate disease may be less effective. It may also be possible for vaccinated people to spread disease to unvaccinated children and those more at risk (elderly, immunocompromised) even with asymptomatic infections. As a result, the CDC updated its mask guidance on July 27.
If you are NOT vaccinated, you are at high risk of infection from the Delta variant:

You should wear a mask most of the time – and you should also maintain physical distance from people, especially in indoor spaces.

It is never too late to get vaccinated! But remember you are not fully protected until 2 weeks after the second dose (Moderna and Pfizer) or first dose (J&J). You can find vaccination centers near you here.

If you are fully vaccinated, you should wear a mask:

  • Indoors when community risk is substantial or higher – 63% of counties are now at that level and over the next week most of the country will be, as well. So start wearing a mask in indoor public places now. This is especially important if others are unmasked and physical distancing is difficult.
  • At outdoor crowded events - sports stadiums, concerts, rallies, etc., especially if people are unmasked and/or shouting or singing.
  • Avoid or minimize large, crowded indoor venues – definitely mask up if unavoidable. 
  • On buses, planes, and trains.
  • In workplaces if people are not 100% vaccinated.

  • Choose outdoor seating at restaurants.
  • Encourage children - especially if unvaccinated – to mask up in indoor spaces, including in school and on the bus.
  • Always consider wearing a mask if you might be at higher risk or live with, or see vulnerable people - unvaccinated children, the elderly or those immunocompromised.