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How Masks Work

Cloth face coverings are an important step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with other everyday preventive actions, including social distancing and frequent handwashing.

Watch this video for a real world example of how masks work to stop the spread.
How Masks Work

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Wearing A Mask

Research shows that wearing a mask can reduce infection rates by 80%. Correctly wearing a cloth face covering can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When to wear a mask:

Wear masks in public settings when around people not living in your household and particularly where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.

Who should not use cloth face coverings:

Children under the age of two, or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance should not use cloth face coverings.

Graphic icon of a woman correctly wearing a Tennessee flag-themed mask, with a green check mark icon
Graphic icon of a woman wearing an ill-fitting mask, with a red X icon
Graphic icon of a man wearing a mask under his chin, with a red X icon
Graphic icon of a man wearing a mask beneath his nose, with a red X icon


  • Wear a face covering that covers your nose and mouth.
  • Wear a face covering in public settings, especially when it may be difficult to stay six feet apart.
  • Wear a covering correctly for maximum protection.


  • Wear the face covering around your neck or on your forehead.
  • Touch the face covering. If you do, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to disinfect.

Chart depicting mask wearing Chart depicting mask wearingChart depicting mask wearing