Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19
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:
- About COVID-19 Vaccine: For fully vaccinated people
- Safer Celebrations during COVID-19: Holidays and Other Gatherings
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Stay at least 6 feet from people who do not live with you.
- Telework if you can.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are age 65 or older or have certain underlying medical conditions, consider avoiding activities and situations where you could be exposed, including travel, even if you have been vaccinated.
- CDC: Prevent Getting Sick
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Face Covering Requirements and Recommendations
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
- Face Coverings in Organized Sports During COVID-19 (PDF)
- For Businesses: Share Our Message
Download "Masks Required" signs for your business or public indoor space
- 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.
- Everyone who can wear a mask should wear one when recommended.
- Even if you have had COVID-19, you should still wear a mask because you could get sick with COVID-19 again.
- If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask in some places. Visit About COVID-19 Vaccine: For fully vaccinated people.
- 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 is unable to remove the mask without help.
- People with disabilities or special health needs may not be able 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. 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
- Create a household plan of action.
- It is important to keep regular check-ups to manage your health. Do not delay care for medical emergencies.
- Consider getting a two-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food, and other essentials to keep at home. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
- Plan how to communicate from home with family, friends, and co-workers.
- Learn the emergency plans for the places that people in your house go to work and school.
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.
- Breastfeeding during COVID-19:
- Breastfeeding is the best, most nurturing way of feeding your baby – something special you can do for your infant, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you are sick, wash your hands before each feeding and wear a face mask.
- For additional guidance on staying safe while pregnant or postpartum, visit:
- About the COVID-19 Vaccine - under Pregnant People
- Breastfeeding During the Current Health Crisis
- CDC: If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, or Caring for Young Children
- March of Dimes: COVID-19: Things to Know if You're Pregnant (PDF)
- Pregnancy Program - Quit Partner
Learn more about free support to help pregnant and postpartum people quit smoking, vaping, or chewing commercial tobacco.
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:
COVID-19 can spread easily in homes with extended families and others who live together and interact every day. Follow the recommendations below to protect the people you live with, especially those who are most at risk.Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Amharic (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Arabic (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Chinese (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Hmong (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Karen (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Lao (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Oromo (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Russian (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Somali (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Spanish (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Vietnamese (PDF)
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.
- 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:
- If you are fully vaccinated, follow CDC: Domestic Travel Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC: Domestic Travel Recommendations for Unvaccinated People.
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.
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.
- Sexual Health
Includes safer sex during the COVID-19 pandemic resources.
- Quit Partner
Free support for Minnesotan who want to quit smoking, vaping, chewing, or using other commercial tobacco products.
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: COVID-19 Response
Guidelines address public health protection measures for outdoor recreation.