Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19

On this page:
Slow the spread
Masks and face coverings
Other resources

Slow the spread


Hands and face

    • Wash your hands often, with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
    • Always wash your hands after being in a public place.
    • Always wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
    • Use hand sanitizers on the hands only. Never use them on larger body surfaces, and never swallow or breathe them in.
    • Do not make hand sanitizers into something you can spray into the air. This is dangerous to your health and can catch fire.
    • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash.

Masks and face coverings

Face coverings, often called masks, can help stop your germs from infecting others. Research has shown that wearing masks reduces the risk of infection, especially when combined with other prevention efforts such as washing your hands often and staying 6 feet away from others.

As of July 25, 2020, per the Governor's Executive Order, people in Minnesota will be required to wear a face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless you are alone.

How masks work

  • The virus which causes COVID-19 is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough or sneeze. Wearing a mask stops these droplets from spreading to others. This is extra important because around 40-50% of people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still spread the virus. 
  • Wearing a mask does not mean people who are sick should be in public. Stay home if you are sick unless you need to seek medical care.

Who should wear a mask

  • Everyone who can wear a mask should.
    • Even if you've had COVID-19, you should still wear a mask because we do not know if people can get sick with COVID-19 again.
  • Do not put masks or face covers on children under age 2.
  • Do not put masks or face covers on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the mask without help.
  • People with disabilities or special health needs may not be able to wear a mask.

How to wear a mask

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask and after taking it off.
  • Cover your nose and mouth and try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Keep the mask on your face the whole time you are out. Don't put the mask around your neck or on your forehead.
  • Wash your mask after each time you wear it.
  • How to Safely Wear Your Mask (PDF)
    Poster for download and printing.
  • Videos for COVID-19 Response: see How to Safely Wear Your Mask and COVID-19 Mask Do's and Don'ts

Types of masks

  • Types of face coverings can include a paper or disposable mask, a cloth mask, a scarf, a bandanna, or a religious face covering.
  • Wear masks with two or more layers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Other face coverings that are a thinner, single-layer of fabric, or are made of paper should only be used if nothing else is available.
  • Do not buy or wear surgical or N95 masks. Health care workers need them so that they are protected when helping sick patients.
  • Do not wear a mask with a valve because it allows droplets to be released from the mask.


  • Keep your house very clean to stay healthy. This can help stop infections from spreading.
  • Clean and disinfect things that people touch a lot: counters and other surfaces; telephones, remote controls and other devices; doorknobs, stairway railings and other objects.
  • Always follow instructions on household cleaners. Do not drink, breathe in, or inject household cleaners. This can hurt or kill you. Call poison control or a doctor immediately if you drink a cleaning product.
  • Do not use disinfectant sprays or wipes on your skin or on pets. This can hurt your skin and your pets.


Considerations before traveling

If you are thinking about traveling away from your local community, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family. COVID-19 has been reported in all 50 states, and traveling can put people at greater risk of getting sick.

Before you travel, think about:

  • How much COVID-19 is spreading where you are going and how much it is spreading in your local community.
  • Whether you or someone you are traveling with could get very sick from COVID-19.
  • How easy or difficult it will be to keep 6 feet between people.
  • Whether you would be able to miss work, school, or other activities if you get sick.

For more tips and things to consider when traveling, see CDC: Considerations for Travelers – Coronavirus in the U.S.

If you travel

Protect yourself and others during your trip:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Bring enough of your medications to last the entire trip.
  • Consider packing food or picking up food from the store, drive-throughs, or curbside pickup.

Travel to Minnesota

Minnesota does not require travelers to stay home/away from others (quarantine) for 14 days after coming here from another state. However, it is important that you watch for symptoms, get tested if you do have symptoms, and stay home if you become sick. You should also continue to wear a mask, stay 6 feet from people, and wash your hands often.

Visit CDC: Travel for more information about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other resources

Updated Monday, 21-Sep-2020 17:27:50 CDT