As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, some people are becoming lax in three areas that are critical to decreasing the spread of the COVID-19 virus: face masks, social distancing and handwashing.


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone, sick or healthy, wear a face mask in places, inside or outside, where it can be hard to stay 6 feet apart. Studies have shown that people who are pre-symptomatic (infected with COVID-19 but have not yet displayed symptoms) or asymptomatic (infected with COVID-19 and get over it without displaying symptoms) can readily spread COVID-19. Face masks serve as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people when the person wearing the face mask coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice. 

Face masks should fit tightly around the nose and mouth. They can be made of fabric or disposable material. Ideally cloth face masks should be washed each time they are worn. Face masks are not a substitute for social distancing and handwashing.


Social distancing means keeping people far enough apart so they cannot easily spread COVID-19. Social distancing is aimed to reduce frequency of contact by increasing physical distance between people. This reduces the risk of person-to-person or community transmission of COVID-19. In social distancing you must stay at least 6 feet away from other people. It is best to avoid large gatherings of people because in that situation social distancing can be difficult to achieve.


Handwashing is a very good way of preventing the spread of COVID-19. It is common sense and it works. However, it must be done properly with soap and water.

Proper handwashing requires five steps

  • Wet your hands. Put both of your hands under clean, running water and thoroughly wet them.
  • Lather your hands. Apply a generous amount of soap to the inside of your hands, back of your hands and your fingertips. Don’t forget to wash under jewelry and fingernails.
  • Scrub your hands. Rub both hands together and move your fingertips around in the palms of both hands.
  • Rinse your hands. Rinse both hands under running water and gently rinse away the soap.
  • Dry your hands. Completely dry your hands. Use a disposable paper towel or a clean cloth towel. Air dryers, commonly found in public bathrooms, are also effective.

Washing your hands for 20 seconds effectively kills the germs. Singing or humming the Happy Birthday song twice while washing your hands can make the experience pleasant.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) is effective when soap and water is not available. Put a generous drop of hand sanitizer in the palm of your hand and rub it on both hands, front and back, and fingertips.

You can sabotage your handwashing if:

  • You don’t wash your hands often enough
  • You don’t use enough soap to lather up
  • You don’t scrub your entire hand
  • You don’t wash long enough
  • You don’t rinse your hands thoroughly
  • You skip drying your hands

Remember: The use of face masks together with social distancing and handwashing prevents the transmission of COVID-19 and saves lives. It also helps to protect your employees and your business.   IP