If you've been on social media at all in the past month, I don't have tell you that the choice to wear a face mask is obviously polarizing. Some data being shared online claims that wearing a mask does little to protect you. While others on your "friends" list are sharing data and info-graphs that claim wearing a mask does help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Making things even more confusing (if you remember correctly) is that when the coronavirus was just starting to become a serious issue in the US, officials from the CDC said masks for the general public were not necessary, as quoted by stories like this in Business Insider from late February. To add to the confusion, there's the argument that if you don't have a "N95" grade or better mask, you are better off wearing nothing.

Regardless, some stores and restaurants are having their staff wear masks. Costco is requiring all guest and employees to wear masks in their stores. I experienced this for the first time when I shopped at the Billings Costco on Friday (5/8). While everyone in the store were wearing masks, I saw a TON of people that clearly were not wearing them in an effective manner. As in, not even on their face, but hanging around their necks. Why even bother?

The Yellowstone County Unified Health Command has issued these Do's and Don'ts of wearing a face mask:

Do’s:

  • Inspect the mask. Check to make sure the mask is not torn and that the ear loops or ties are secure.
  • If the mask you are using has ties, bring both top ties to the crown of your head and secure with a bow. Tie the bottom ties securely at the nape of your neck in a bow.
  • Remove your mask when you're able to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. When not using, store your mask in a paper bag labeled with your name.
  • For ear loop masks, remove the mask from the side with your head tilted forward. Handle only the ear loops.
  • For tied masks, remove by handling only the ties, and untie the bottom tie first.
  • Routinely wash and dry your cloth mask in a washing machine at the hottest setting allowable for the fabric.
  • Wash your hands before and after removing the mask.

Don’ts:

  • Don't wear the mask if it is wet or soiled; use a clean mask.
  • Don’t leave a mask hanging off one ear or down around the chin or neck. This creates a risk of self-contamination.
  • Don’t touch the front of the mask, as it is contaminated after use. Wash your hands immediately if you touch the front of your mask.
  • Don’t place your mask on work surfaces.

For more on mask use, read this guide from the CDC.