two kn95 masks sit on top of each other on a piece of fabricNow that the Dane County mask order is ending on March 1, we are hearing from some people who are concerned about masks not being required and what they should be doing. We compiled our best tips for people who are looking for guidance after the mask order ends.

Remember that masks are still required in some facilities.

  • Federal requirements state that masks should be worn on public transportation, including on buses, in airports, and in taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts.
  • Most, if not all, hospitals and clinics require face coverings in their spaces.
  • Other facilities may also require masks. For example, businesses can decide their own mask policy and can require masks in their spaces. Schools may also require masks and consult with their own medical advisors to make those decisions. Make sure to check the requirements before you go and look for signage at entrances!

Even if others aren’t wearing a mask, you can still protect yourself by wearing a high quality mask like an N95.

Wearing a high quality mask will protect you by filtering the air you breathe in. Even if some people around you aren’t wearing a mask, you can worry less if you are masked. Some styles even come in children’s sizes. Read our blog post about upgrading your mask to learn more about your options.

You can still take action to lower the risk of activities.

Crowded, indoor activities are the most likely to spread COVID. You can instead choose activities that are outdoors or more spread out. If you are doing something indoors and crowded, you can wear a high quality mask. You can also try to do some things on off hours (like going to a restaurant when they first open instead of during their busiest hour).

Some risk is unavoidable, whether it’s through work, school, or other activities. The most important tool we have to reduce risk is getting vaccinated and boosted. You can continue to layer other protections on top of your vaccine, including wearing masks, spreading out from others, moving outdoors, opening windows or increasing ventilation, getting tested or using rapid tests, and washing hands regularly.

If you have young children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, you can still take steps to protect them.

It can be difficult to figure out what to do when you have children under 5 who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated (and even more difficult if you have a child too young to wear a mask). The most important thing you can do is to ensure that all members of your household (and those who your child regularly interacts with) who are eligible are vaccinated and up to date on their boosters. This helps create a circle of protection around our loved ones who are too young to be vaccinated. You might not want to hang out with people who are unvaccinated, or choose to do so in ways that lower risk, and may want to take action to lower the risk of other activities, as described above.

Make sure you and your loved ones are up to date on your vaccines.

The most important thing all of us can do is get vaccinated, boosted, and stay up to date on your vaccines. While 78% of Dane County has completed their initial series, almost 20% of vaccinated people aren’t up to date on their booster. Are you missing your second dose or booster? Need to start your series? Get vaccinated now at a quick and easy location near you.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.