You Can Safely Keep Your Mask Off If You're Doing This, Says Dr. Fauci

Wearing a mask can help keep you safe, but even Dr. Fauci says he takes his off while doing this.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, public health experts have recommended wearing a mask to help curb the spread of coronavirus. And while most activities are undeniably made safer by wearing a protective face covering one of America's foremost experts on COVID says there's one activity you can safely do without your mask for. According to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, if you're outdoors with only people you live with and see no one else in your immediate vicinity, you can take your mask off.

In an August 13 interview with Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo, Fauci admitted that even he doesn't wear a mask at all times when he's outdoors. While Fauci cautioned that "you've got to be careful everywhere," he noted that he was happy to see people taking advantage of the great outdoors without masks, as long as they're maintaining adequate distance from others.

"When I see people out on a beach running with nobody around them—good for you! Do it! You don't need to be locked down outside," he said. As for his own routine, Fauci said that, on his daily four-mile walk, he typically keeps his mask around his chin as he chats with his wife.

middle aged white man wearing surgical mask under chin while walking outdoors
Shutterstock/Marta DM

"If you're walking with your dog or your wife or husband or somebody that you're in the house with anyway, and you're not going to stay separated from them, then just do it," he said.

However, "[if] 50 yards ahead, I see someone coming, I go like that," he said, pulling his mask back up over his mouth and nose. "You can do that!"

While Fauci touted mask-wearing as one of the most important components when it comes to lowering new cases of coronavirus throughout the U.S. and enabling the safe reopening of schools, he said that Americans don't need to see mask-wearing as a completely inflexible rule.

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Fauci said that many people think, "either you're going to lock yourself in a closet or you're going to be out partying with no mask," when a more moderate approach may be effective. Though Fauci underscored the importance of continuing to wear a mask indoors and in outdoor situations where social distancing isn't possible, "You can see your friends," if you're taking the recommended precautions.

"You can't interrupt your life totally, indefinitely," he said. "You've got to try to safely get back to normal." And for more insight into how to stop the spread, Fauci Says We Won't Have COVID Contained Next Year Without These 2 Things.


Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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