Mandatory Mask Wearing is Back (But Only for Some)

By Ned Kelly, December 11, 2023

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As you have no doubt noticed, there are some nasty ol' respiratory illness going round this winter.

In response, the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration (CDC) have updated their mask wearing guidelines, with them once again mandatory... for some.

Here are the new rules coming down from on high.

Mask wearing is mandatory for...

  • Individuals infected with respiratory infectious diseases such as COVID-19, influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae and respiratory syncytial virus*

  • Individuals experiencing symptoms of any of the above – we're talking fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue*

  • Individuals visiting medical institutions, be it for treatment, accompanying patients, or for caregiving and visiting purposes.

  • Individuals visiting vulnerable locations such as nursing homes, social welfare institutions, childcare facilities and schools**

*when entering indoor public spaces or coming into close contact with others (less than a meter in distance)

**during periods of high prevalence of respiratory infectious diseases

Mask wearing is recommended for...

  • Individuals living, working or otherwise being in close quarters with those showing symptoms of respiratory infectious diseases

  • Elderly individuals, those with chronic underlying conditions and pregnant women, when entering indoor public spaces**

  • When using public transportation such as airplanes, trains, long-distance buses, ships, subways and buses**

  • When entering enclosed and densely populated places like stores, cinemas, passenger terminals and elevators**

**during periods of high prevalence of respiratory infectious diseases

Mask wearing is not necessary when...

  • Doing physical exercise

  • In outdoor places such as open squares and parks

  • For children aged three and below

The CDC also advise individuals infected with respiratory infectious diseases (and those with symptoms) to wear N95 or KN95 particle protective masks (without exhalation valves) or medical protective masks. 

Everyone else is recommended to wear the standard disposable medical masks that, over the last few years, we've all come to know and love.

Stay healthy, people!

READ MORE: Here's How to Avoid that Nasty Pneumonia Going Round

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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