Face Coverings

COVID-19 can be spread from person to person before symptoms develop. Wearing a face covering, along with social distancing, regular handwashing, and staying home when you are sick, can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn the importance of wearing face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Face Coverings Required

In the State of New Hampshire, everyone over the age of five is required to wear a face covering in public settings where it is hard to maintain a distance of six feet from others. For more information, please read below.


  • The City of Nashua has issued Ordinance O-20-018 requiring the use of face coverings in public settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing (a distance of six feet between yourself and others) effective May 22, 2020 and until further notice. Exceptions include children under the age of 10 and those unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition. 
  • On September 22, 2020, the City of Nashua Board of Aldermen passed Ordinance O-20-029, providing supplemental regulations in addition to the requirements of Ordinance O-20-018, not to supersede them. Ordinance O-20-029 includes clarification regarding the use of face coverings for businesses, gyms, places of amusement (entertainment venues), and personal care services. 
  • On November 19, 2020, Governor Sununu signed Emergency Order #74 instituting a statewide mask mandate in New Hampshire effective November 20, 2020 through January 15, 2021. This mandate requires everyone over the age of five to wear a mask or cloth face covering over their noses and mouths any time they are in public spaces (indoors or outdoors) where they are unable to or do not consistently maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from persons outside their own households. This order includes nine exceptions which can be found in the emergency order below.
  • In January 2021, Governor Sununu signed Emergency Order #81 to extend Emergency Order #74 through March 26, 2021


Proper Use and Care

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from becoming infected with COVID-19. Since the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread before symptoms develop, face coverings help prevent you from spreading the virus to other people.

Safe use of face coverings requires the wearer to practice the following:

  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Social distance by keeping six feet of distance from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean objects and surfaces that are frequently touched with household cleaning spray or wipes. Allow to air dry.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.

How to Properly Put On a Face Covering:

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Determine the outside of the face covering - that side will face away from you.
  • Grab the face covering by the ear loops and place a loop around each ear.
  • Make sure the face covering fully covers your mouth AND nose, without any gap.
  • Avoid touching the front of your face covering.
  • If it becomes soiled, you should replace it.

How to Properly Take Off a Face Covering:

  • Remove the face covering by grabbing each ear loop.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth while removing it.
  • Fold the face covering so that the area facing outward is folded over itself.
  • Place the face covering in a plastic bag for cleaning later. 
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub after removal.

When you wear a face covering, make sure it meets the following:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Is secured with ties or ear loops,
  • Allows for breathing without restriction, and
  • Is able to be washed and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

Examples of When to Wear a Face CoveringExamples of When Not to Wear a Face Covering
Trips to the store, pharmacy, doctor, or hospitalAt home, if everyone in the home isn’t showing symptoms
Workers at businesses when they cannot maintain at least six feet distance between themselves and othersSpending time outdoors with members of your household if you can maintain a safe distance of six feet from others
Visiting a restaurant for dining or to pick up foodWho should not wear a face covering:
Walking outdoors on a crowded path or street- Children under the age of 2
In common areas or communal space of any building complex - Any person whom wearing a face covering may pose a risk to their health

Face Covering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

To find out more information, view our list of frequently asked questions and answers below. 

Face Mask

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