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DOD Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 Graphic. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

The Department of Defense is committed to taking every precaution to ensure the health and wellbeing of our Service members, DoD civilian employees, families, and the Nation in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. DoD supports, and will continue to implement, all measures necessary to mitigate risks to the spread of the disease, consistent with the Department's priorities to protect our people, safeguard our national security capabilities, and support the government's whole-of-nation response. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Military personnel, DoD civilian employees, their family members, and DoD contractors are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidelines on the use of cloth face coverings in public settings or where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. 

Effective immediately, to the extent practical, all individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers (this does not include in a Service member's or Service family member's personal residence on a military installation). This includes all:  

  • Military Personnel  
  • DoD Civilian Employees 
  • Family Members  
  • DoD Contractors  
  • All other individuals on DoD property, installations, and facilities

Exceptions to this requirement may be approved by local commanders or supervisors, and then submitted up the chain of command for situational awareness. Security checkpoints may require the lowering of face covers to verify identification. The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness will issue updated force health protection guidance on DoD implementation.

The Military Departments will issue guidance on wear for Service members. As an interim measure, all individuals are encouraged to fashion face coverings from household items or common materials, such as clean T-shirts or other clean cloths that can cover the nose and mouth area. Medical personal protective equipment such as N95 respirators or surgical masks will not be issued for this purpose as these will be reserved for the appropriate personnel.

Click link for wear and construction of face coverings: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19.

All personnel should continue to maintain six feet between themselves and others whenever possible.  The cloth face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing.  The cloth face covering is to help prevent those who are asymptomatic from transmitting, more than protecting oneself from potentially contracting the virus.  Please, continue to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information (https://www.cdc.gov/).