Updated April 8, 2020Home made mask with words "CDC Recommends Face Coverings" and the County logo

The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering when you cannot keep 6 feet between you and others in public, like at a grocery store, at a pharmacy, or on a crowded sidewalk. 

Continue to follow the physical distancing guidelines:

  • stay at home as much as possible, 
  • keep 6 feet between you and others in public, 
  • don’t touch your face, 
  • cover coughs and sneezes, and 
  • wash your hands.
  • If you are sick, stay home and away from others to protect them.

Cloth face coverings are NOT a replacement for physical distancing. Cloth face-coverings are one more thing we can do to protect one another.

Recomendación de los CDC sobre el uso de cubiertas de tela para la cara

How to use cloth face covering

  • You can make a homemade cloth face covering. The tighter the weave, the thicker the cloth, and the better it fits your face, the better the protection. You can also use bandanas or scarves.
  • See the CDC webpage for images and directions showing how to make a homemade cloth face covering.
  • Homemade cloth face coverings should be washed after every use with warm water and soap.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily through them.
  • Cloth face coverings can be itchy. Don’t reach under the mask to touch your nose or mouth.
  • The CDC recommends children under 2 or anyone who can’t remove the covering themselves do not wear face coverings.

Why cloth face coverings are recommended at this time

  • Recent studies show that people with COVID-19 can have no symptoms or mild symptoms and still spread the virus. We are learning more and that’s why we have this new recommendation.
  • Face coverings decrease how many droplets we release when we speak, cough, or sneeze. Whenever we forcefully exhale, we release droplets.
  • Face coverings are intended to protect others.

Medical masks

  • The general public should not wear medical masks or N95 respirators.
  • Health care workers need these medical masks to stay safe and do their jobs. 
  • Medical masks are in limited supply and we need to make sure these are only for front line health care workers.


Multnomah County is accepting donations of both cloth face coverings and medical masks.