How to wear a face covering safely

When you wear a face covering, it's important you use it safely. This advice applies to both bought and handmade face coverings.

Wearing face coverings on public transport and aircraft

At Alert Level 2 and higher

You need to wear a face covering on public transport and aircraft. 

At Alert Level 1 

You need to wear a face covering when travelling into, out of or through Auckland on public transport or aircraft.

Important

Never share face coverings with other people.

We do not recommend face coverings be worn by:

  • young children or people who could not remove them without assistance
  • people who have trouble breathing.

Do not re-use a mask once it has become damp or after you have used it already that day.

How to put on a face covering

Step 1: check your face covering

Make sure it is:

  • clean
  • dry
  • not damaged.

Step 2: clean your hands

Before you put on your face covering, clean and dry your hands. Use either:

  • soap and water, or
  • hand sanitiser that is at least 60% alcohol.

Step 3: put on your face covering

Place the face covering over your nose and mouth, then secure it with ties or ear loops. The face covering should:

  • fully cover your nose, mouth and chin
  • fit comfortably, but securely, against the side of your face
  • allow you to breathe easily.

Step 4: clean your hands again

Use either:

  • soap and water, or
  • hand sanitiser that is at least 60% alcohol.

While wearing a face covering

Avoid touching the front of your face covering

If you touch your face or the front of your face covering, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.

Avoid touching your face

If you touch your face or the front of your face covering, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.

Avoid moving your face covering

Do not pull your face covering down below your chin.

How to remove a face covering

Step 1: clean your hands

Clean and dry your hands. Use either:

  • soap and water, or
  • hand sanitiser that is at least 60% alcohol.

Step 2: remove your face covering

Take your face covering off from behind and pull it away from your face.

Use the loops or untie it.

Do not touch the front of the face covering, and be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

Step 3: clean or dispose of your face covering

Clean your face covering

Clean cloth face coverings by washing them with detergent in hot water. You can do it either by hand or in a washing machine.

Dry the face covering completely before you use it again. Do not use a damp face covering.

Dispose of single-use face coverings

Put it in a rubbish bin, or in a bag and throw it out. Do not put face coverings in the recycling.

Do not re-use or try to disinfect single-use face coverings.

Step 4: clean your hands again

Use either:

  • soap and water, or
  • hand sanitiser that is at least 60% alcohol.

Summary video

The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a video that summarises how to wear a face covering safely.

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