Wearing Face Coverings Safely in Hot Weather

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The City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Public Health Department understand that wearing masks or cloth face coverings may not be possible in every situation or for some people, especially during the summer months.

In some situations, wearing a cloth face covering may worsen a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns.

On June 27, 2020, the City of Cambridge amended its Emergency Order on face coverings so that people can temporarily remove their masks when in outdoor public places in Cambridge if a physical distance of at least six feet can be maintained at all times from others. The amended order is effective through September 22, 2020.

In addition, people in Cambridge are allowed to temporarily remove masks when eating at restaurants or other food establishments, whether dining indoors or outdoors. Customers must wear masks or face coverings at all other times at food establishments.

These changes were prompted by both health and practical considerations. On hot days, wearing a face covering outdoors may cause difficulty breathing. This is especially true for people running, biking, or engaged in other high intensity activities.

Likewise, people should not wear masks or cloth face coverings in situations that may cause the covering to become wet, such as swimming at the beach or pool. A wet cloth face covering may make it difficult to breathe. For activities like swimming, it is particularly important to maintain physical distance from others when in the water and then put the covering back on when out of the water.

Wearing masks and face coverings is a critical preventive measure, particularly in situations where physical distancing is difficult. Here are some face covering safety tips for hot summer days: 

  • When outdoors on hot days, drink plenty of water.
  • Limit your time outdoors on hot days.
  • Choose face coverings with breathable fabrics, such as cotton or linen.The lighter the color, the less heat it will attract.
  • Keep an extra covering with you to swap out if necessary. If your covering becomes damp with sweat, its ability to block COVID-19 could diminish.
  • Be sure to wash cloth face coverings with soap and hot water after each use.
Page was posted on 7/6/2020 3:43 PM
Page was last modified on 7/8/2020 1:13 PM
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