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Cloth masks/face coverings in the workplace


Cloth masks or face coverings in the workplace

Q: Who is required to wear a cloth mask or face covering?

A: The requirement to wear cloth face coverings applies to employers and employees at Ohio workplaces. Businesses in the manufacturing, distribution, and construction industries are authorized to open May 4; general office environments are authorized to open May 4; and consumer, retail, and service locations are authorized to open May 12. For additional information, visit the Responsible RestartOhio page at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Q: Are there exceptions?

A: Yes. Employers and employees are not required to wear face coverings if it is not advised due to health reasons, against documented industry best practices, prohibited for a specific position by law or regulation, or a violation of a company’s safety policy. A face covering also is not required if an employee is working alone in an enclosed workspace or if there is a practical reason one cannot be worn. If any of these exceptions apply, written justification must be provided upon request.

Q: What else should I do to protect myself if I go to work?

A: Whenever possible stay at least 6 feet from other people. Wash your hands often, try not to touch your face, and frequently disinfect work areas and high-touch items in your workplace with disinfecting cleanser. Don’t share work materials or equipment, especially equipment used near the face. Don’t congregate with others in breakrooms or other areas. Avoid public or shared transportation if possible. Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms and stay home if you experience any or otherwise feel sick.

Q: Why aren’t face coverings required for customers, clients, and other visitors or guests?

A: Face coverings are strongly recommended for people who can safely wear them. The decision to exempt customers from the requirement was made to protect Ohioans who cannot wear face coverings, such as people who have severe asthma or breathing issues, hearing aids, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, or claustrophobia. In addition, face coverings should NEVER be worn by or placed on people who are younger than 2, have difficulty breathing, or are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove them without assistance.

Q: Why should I wear a face covering?

A: Many people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that Americans wear cloth face coverings as a possible way to protect one another from infection. It is important to note that face coverings are not a substitute for other prevention efforts, such as hand-washing and social distancing. Continue to stay 6 feet from others whenever possible, to clean hands frequently, and to follow the other prevention methods in the below graphic.

Q: What is the proper way to wear a face covering?

A: Use a face covering that fits snugly but comfortably and allows for breathing without restriction. Wear horizontally, covering nose, mouth, and chin at all times, and secure behind the head with ties or ear loops. Wash your hands before putting the face covering on and immediately after removing it, and don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth when taking it off. Routinely launder and dry the covering. Do not wear when wet.

Q: Where can I get a face covering?

A: You can make your own face covering with multiple layers of a fabric that does not damage or lose shape when machine laundered and dried. You also can support small businesses selling fabric face coverings at a reasonable price — but watch out for scammers offering high-priced or so-called superior face coverings. Instructions for making your own sewn or no-sew face covering can be found here. Do not use medical masks, which must be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.


For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call the COVID-19 CareLine at 1-800-720-9616.

Prevention Infographic

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions.

  • Stay home 
  • Practice Social Distancing
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals
  • Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)
  • Dry hands with a clean towel or air dry your hands
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect "High-Touch" surfaces often
  • Call before visiting your doctor
  • Practice good hygiene habits 

If you have questions regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 please call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634)


High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

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