Updated March 5, 2021
Correct and consistent use of masks and face coverings is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, including new variants of the virus.
Who should wear a mask?
Masks are required in Oregon for everyone age 5 and older, in all indoor public spaces and also outdoors when you cannot keep 6 feet from others.
Everyone ages 2 and up are also required to wear masks while using public transportation or in transportation hubs, such as train or bus stations and airports.
Children under 2 years old should never wear a mask.
People with a disability or medical condition may request a reasonable accommodation from a business (such as pick-up or delivery) if they are unable to wear a mask.
I have been vaccinated, do I need to keep wearing a mask?
Continue to wear a mask even if you are vaccinated. Until there is less COVID-19 in our communities we need to continue this prevention measure.
How do masks keep us safe?
COVID-19 spreads mostly person-to-person through respiratory droplets when someone coughs, sneezes, sings, or talks. If you’re wearing a face covering, you will keep your droplets to yourself. You might not have symptoms if you have COVID, so it is important to keep your face covered.
A face covering may also protect the person wearing it. If your face covering is made of the right fabrics and worn properly, it may block droplets from entering your nose and mouth.
Masks work best when everyone wears them. Bring one with you whenever you go out.
The two most important things you can do to protect yourself and others when wearing a mask are
Pick a mask with multiple layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets getting inside your mask or escaping from your mask if you are sick
Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask
Mask materials and proper fit
Choose a mask that has
tightly woven fabrics (for reusable cloth face coverings)
at least 2 layers
elastic loops or ties to hold it in place
a sewn-in, washable metal nose piece, for a snug fit (a plastic coated paper clip works).
For the best fit make sure
your mouth and nose are fully covered.
It fits snugly against the sides of the face, with no gaps.
no air is flowing from the area near your eyes, from the sides of the mask or below your mouth
Do not choose a mask that:
Has an exhalation valve or vent which allows virus particles to escape
Is made of fabric that makes it hard to breathe, for example, vinyl
Reusable masks should be washed after every use with soap and warm water.
For a better fit on a disposable mask:
Knot the ear loops of a 3-ply face mask where they join the edge of the mask
Fold and tuck the unneeded material under the edges
For video instructions, see: https://youtu.be/UANi8Cc71A0.
Face shields are not a replacement for face coverings. If you wear a face shield, wear a tight-fitting mask underneath.
There are limited situations when a face shield by itself is appropriate, for example while talking with someone who needs to read lips to communicate.
The face shield should wrap around the sides of your face, cover the forehead and extend below the chin.
Gaiters, scarves, ski masks
If you wear a gaiter as a mask, wear two or fold it over to double layer it.
Wear your scarf, ski mask or balaclava over your mask. Scarves, ski masks and balaclavas are not substitutes for a mask.
You may have noticed a lot of people wearing two masks. You don’t need to wear two masks, but can if you want to.
If you are doubling up on masks, keep these guidelines in mind:
Do not layer two disposable masks. Disposable masks are not designed to fit tightly and wearing more than one will not improve fit.
You can layer a cloth mask over a disposable mask or wear two cloth masks.
Make sure the top mask pushes the edges of the inner mask against your face.
Make sure you can still breathe easily and not touch or adjust your masks often.
Do not combine a KN95 mask with any other mask. Only use one KN95 mask at a time.
Where to get masks & face coverings
You can buy masks in stores and online, or make your own. Can’t afford to buy or make one? Check local community organizations to see if they have any to give away.
Community organizations can request hand sanitizer or disposable face coverings on our resource request page. We are not able to provide these directly to individuals or families.
Discrimination is against the law
Everyone deserves respect.
Violence and discrimination are a daily experience for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Racism and racist reactions to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color wearing masks is a reality. And yet we know masks can help people to stay healthy and save lives.
Multnomah County does not tolerate discrimination or violence toward individuals because of their race, ethnicity or identity. Report discrimination or racist incidents>>
If you see people not wearing masks
Leave if you feel unsafe. Keep in mind some people can't wear a mask due to a health condition, age or ability.
Do not call 911. To report concerns or complaints:
Workplace or businesses (for employees and customers) | Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 800-922-2689. Available in English and Spanish.
Restaurants and food service | firstname.lastname@example.org
Multnomah County is accepting donations of both cloth face coverings and medical masks.