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Community/Non-Medical Face Masks: Tips for CWA Members

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  • Simple fabric masks, also known as “community” or “nonmedical” masks, are NOT a substitute for N95s and other PPE in workplaces where members may be exposed to COVID19 and/or the novel coronavirus.
  • CWA expects employers to provide effective and appropriate PPE.
  • Community masks are not designed to protect the wearer. Rather, the theory is that if everyone wears them, community transmission of COVID19 infection will be reduced.
  • Some jurisdictions and workplaces now require people to wear community masks or other face coverings when out in public. Our union siblings working in stores, driving public transportation and otherwise serving our communities appreciate it when we cover our faces!
  • Community masks should be made of two or more layers of tightly woven 100% cotton.
    • Masks should tie behind the head or affix with elastic to ensure a snug fit -- the looser the face mask, the less effective it will be.
    • Single-layer jersey, T-shirt material and synthetic fabrics are NOT recommended.
    • Fabric masks should not be handled or removed while out and about.
    • Fabric masks should be removed only by the ear loops or ties and laundered after every use.
  • When wearing a community mask, it is essential to maintain social distancing, continue frequent hand-washing and observe other public health measures.
  • Due to current supply shortages, medical procedure and surgical masks should be dedicated to healthcare settings.

For more information, click here for the CWA Community/Non-Medical Face Mask Q&A.