Physical & Mental Health
Wearing a Mask for Covid-19 in 2023 -- A Social Story
Easy Reader Version
The Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020.
When the pandemic began, people had a lot of questions.
People had questions about:
- How to stay safe from the catching the virus
- How to keep others safe from catching the virus
It has been 3 years since the pandemic started.
What we know about the virus has changed.
What we know about how to stay safe from the virus has changed.
You might ask, “What should I be doing now to stay safe?”
You might ask:
- Do I still need to wear a mask?
- When do I need to wear a mask?
- Where do I need to wear a mask?
One place to find answers is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
The CDC is an organization that helps people understand diseases and viruses.
The CDC gives information about how to stay safe from catching the Covid-19 virus.
People can find information on the CDC website at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/about-covid-19.html
The CDC website gives guidelines about wearing masks.
- Guidelines are advice that you can choose to follow.
- Guidelines are not rules.
- People do not have to follow guidelines.
The CDC gives different guidelines depending on your personal situation.
A personal situation is something that is true for you but may not be true for everyone else.
Some personal situations that can change the guidelines for wearing a mask are:
- Being more likely to get sick from the virus
- Having a disability
- Being deaf or hard of hearing
- Living with someone who is more likely to get sick from the virus
The CDC website can tell you the Covid-19 Community Level where you live.
The Covid-19 Community Level gives guidelines on how to stay safe where you live.
The Covid-19 Community Level can be Green, Yellow, or Red:
- Green means the chance of catching the virus is low.
- Yellow means the chance of catching the virus is medium.
- Red means the chance of catching the virus is high.
If the level is Green:
- You can choose to wear a mask anytime you want
- You should wear a mask on the bus or train
- Some places may have a rule that you need to wear a mask
If the level is Yellow:
- You should wear a mask if you are more likely to get sick from the virus
- You should wear a mask if you live with someone who is more likely to get sick from the virus
If the level is Red:
- You should wear a mask at all times in public
- You should not be with a lot of people indoors if you are more likely to get sick from the virus
The CDC has guidelines about staying safe and wearing a mask.
Guidelines are advice, but not rules.
People can choose if they will follow the CDC guidelines.
Everyone will make their own choice about how to stay safe from the virus.
Someone may choose to always wear a mask, both indoors and outdoors.
Someone may choose to only wear a mask indoors.
Someone may choose to never wear a mask.
You can choose what you will do to stay safe from the virus.
You can choose when you will wear a mask.
You can choose where you want to go.
You can choose who you want to be around.
Some businesses or buildings will say you have to wear a mask to be there.
If a business or building says you have to wear a mask, that is their rule.
You have to follow the rules for businesses or buildings that you visit.
Some businesses and buildings do not have a rule about wearing masks.
If a business or building does not have a rule about wearing masks, you can choose.
You can choose if you want to wear a mask at that business or building.
If you do not know if a business or building has a rule about wearing masks, you can:
- Look at their website for information.
- Call their phone number to ask them.
- Look for a sign on the door that says their rule about wearing masks.
- Ask someone who works there about their rule for wearing masks.
If you choose to wear a mask where there is no rule, some people may ask why.
If someone asks why you are wearing a mask, you can say:
- “I am wearing a mask to stay safe.”
- “Wearing a mask is my choice.”
When the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020 there were a lot of questions about what people could do to stay safe and stop the spread of the virus. It has been 3 years since the pandemic started and a lot of things have changed. We now know more about the virus and how it spreads. There are updated guidelines about how to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus to others.
Some people wonder if they should still be wearing masks, how often they need to wear them, and when or where they should wear them.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is an organization that helps people during the pandemic by giving guidelines for what to do in order to stay safe. People can find information about these topics on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/about-covid-19.html
The CDC suggests that the guidelines for wearing a mask depends on the area where a person lives and their personal situation. The CDC website gives the Covid-19 Community Level based on where a person lives. The Covid-19 Community Level will give suggestions of what prevention steps to take based on the latest data about the virus in a person’s community. These prevention steps may include wearing masks or suggestions of when and where to wear them.
The CDC also recommends different prevention steps depending on someone’s personal situation. Some personal situations that may impact the steps people take to stay safe include: if they are at higher risk of severe illness, if they have a disability, if they are deaf or hard of hearing, if they are traveling, or if they live with someone who is at higher risk of severe illness.
These are just some of the personal situations that may change the prevention steps people take in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
If people decide to take certain steps to keep themselves or others safe, it is their choice. Other people may make different decisions. For example, someone may decide to always wear a mask, both indoors and outdoors. Other people may decide to only wear a mask indoors. Other people may not wear masks at all.
Everyone can choose who they are willing to be around or what places they are willing to go in order to stay safe. For example, some people may not want to go to stores that do not have a policy that patrons must wear masks. Some people may not feel safe going to large outdoor events. Some people may not feel safe inviting other people into their home.
The same way that people may make different decisions about their prevention steps, so can different private and public businesses and organizations. For example, some private businesses may require that everyone who visits them wear a mask. A school or a government building may have different policies about wearing masks or other prevention steps. If someone is not sure what the policies of an individual business, organization, or location are, they may be able to contact someone to ask.
Everyone can choose what steps they are taking to protect themselves or others. Different people, businesses, or organizations may be taking different steps. The CDC website can provide suggestions of what steps to take based on where someone lives, but not everyone will follow them. It is up to each individual person or entity what they decide to do. If someone asks why another person is taking certain steps, they can reply, “This is what I am doing to stay safe.”