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Do You Have to Wear a Face Mask Outside During Coronavirus?

An infectious disease doctor says yes

Michael Thomas/Getty Images

The general public should know by now that wearing a cloth facemask is proper coronavirus etiquette. According to the CDC, you should wear one every time you’re in public when social distancing isn’t possible. But do you need to wear one outside, where there’s fresh air and ventilation? One expert says yes.

How to Properly Wear a Facemask

The Daily Meal spoke to Doctor Robert Murphy, a John P. Phair Professor of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern Medicine and Executive Director of the Institute for Global Health. He said that right now, it’s safer to be outside than inside because of air circulation.

But even if you’re following social distancing guidelines, Murphy says you need to wear a mask to minimize airborne respiratory droplets produced by sneezing, coughing or talking, which is how COVID-19 spreads. Being outside only reduces your risk. It doesn't take it away completely.

“People have told me, ‘I’m 6 feet away and I don’t need to wear the mask,’” Murphy said. “Everybody outside should be wearing a mask.”


That said, wearing a mask is not a substitute for social distancing. Help flatten the curve by staying at least 6 feet apart at all times. A recent study confirms that it does slow the spread of coronavirus, and here’s how many lives it has saved.