Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19

On this page:
Slow the spread
Masks and face coverings
Prepare at home
People at increased risk
Other resources

Slow the spread

In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.

It is up to all of us to protect ourselves and others by getting vaccinated and following recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. Even if you are fully vaccinated, it is still important to wear a mask that fits well, stay at least 6 feet away from other people, wash your hands often, and stay home if you are sick. For more information, visit:


  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands after being in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

Cover your cough

  • 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. Wash your hands.
In Minnesota, everyone 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit About COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • Cleaning and then disinfecting surfaces can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
    • Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. If surfaces are dirty, use detergent or soap and water to clean them before disinfecting.
  • 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.
  • Learn more about how to safely clean and disinfect surfaces at CDC: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home.
Indoor Air Considerations: COVID-19
Learn more about how to improve airflow, ventilation, circulation, and more.

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.

For the best protection against COVID-19, your mask must have at least two layers of tightly woven fabric, cover your nose and mouth completely, and fit snugly against your face without gaps.

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

  • The virus that 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.
  • 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. Do not 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
    How to Safely Wear Your Mask and COVID-19 Mask Do's and Don'ts
  • Considerations for Face Shields (PDF)
  • The most effective types of face coverings can include a paper or disposable mask, a cloth mask, or a religious face covering.
  • Wear masks with two or more layers of tightly woven fabric. Face coverings made of thinner, loosely woven, or single-layer fabric such as certain types of masks, scarves, neck gaiters, or bandannas are not as effective for blocking droplets that come out when speaking, coughing, or sneezing, and should only be used if nothing else is available. If you wear a scarf or neck gaiter for warmth, also wear a mask underneath it.
  • MDH does not recommend the use of N95 respirators for protection against COVID-19 in community settings because N95 respirators should be reserved for health care workers. In addition, wearing an N95 requires formal fit-testing in a health care setting to ensure the respirator forms an appropriate seal to provide adequate respiratory protection for the user.
  • Do not wear a mask with a valve because it allows droplets to be released from the mask.

Prepare at home

People at increased risk

Risk for severe illness increases with age, and people of any age who have underlying medical conditions may have a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Ask your health care provider if you have greater risk of getting sicker from COVID-19.

For more information, visit:

Based on current information, pregnant people might have a greater risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread.

People with disabilities may have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID-19 and COVID-19-related complications or may have particular concerns. Visit:


If you travel, do what you can to protect yourself, your family, and others, even on road trips or travel within Minnesota.

  • Do not travel if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Do not travel if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

Remember to:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others.
  • Wear a mask in all public spaces.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • 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.

Effective Feb. 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. For more information, visit CDC: Requirement for Face Masks on Public Transportation Conveyances and at Transportations Hubs.

Students returning home for school breaks are strongly encouraged to follow CDC recommendations and the recommendations of their school district or Institutes of Higher Education, whichever is applicable.

Some jobs may have different requirements for traveling. Check with your employer about recommendations for returning from travel.

For recommendations and things to consider before, during, and after travel (e.g., testing, quarantining, social distancing), visit CDC: Domestic Travel During COVID-19, specifically:

For international travel, follow federal guidelines at CDC: International Travel During COVID-19.

CDC now requires all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from another country to get tested for COVID-19.

For more information on this testing requirement, visit CDC: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States.

Visit U.S. Department of State: Travel and CDC: COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination for more information. If you are a non-U.S. resident looking to travel to Minnesota, contact your country's embassy in the United States for additional guidance.

Other resources

Mental Health and Well-being
Resources include supporting mental well-being during COVID-19. If someone you know is in crisis, use Crisis Text Line by texting MN to 741741.

Updated Wednesday, 28-Apr-2021 10:58:27 CDT