Guidance on Face Coverings Required in Enclosed Public Spaces

Under Governor Whitmer's executive order, all persons are required to wear face coverings when entering enclosed public spaces. This includes campus buildings and workspaces where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing of at least six (6) feet. Face coverings are further required when entering rooms or enclosed areas where others are present. Face coverings are not required in personal offices.

Fabric face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and should not be used when entering a room or area where known or suspected COVID-19 cases are present. They are worn to inhibit potentially infected individuals from transmitting the virus to others.

Wayne State University strongly encourages employees to provide their own personal face coverings in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

Fabric face coverings should be:

  • Made of new, tight-weave cotton fabric (e.g., quilting cotton, denim, duck cloth, canvas, or twill) and secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Worn at all times indoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Worn over the mouth and nose and fit snugly against the side of the face. They should not be worn dangling around the neck or on the chin or forehead.
  • Stored in a clean, closed paper bag or other breathable container when not in use.
  • Hand or machine washed daily in hot water, and dried completely before use. Users should have more than one so they can be rotated between washings.

Putting on and taking off face coverings:

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling.
  • Ensure the face covering fits over the nose and under the chin.
  • Situate the face covering properly with nose wire snug against the nose (if applicable).
  • Tie straps behind the head and neck or loop around the ears.
  • Avoid touching or adjusting face coverings. Immediately wash hands if you do.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering.
  • When removing, loop your finger into the strap and pull the strap away from the ear, or untie the straps.
  • Wash hands immediately after removing.

The following table lists the types of face coverings and their intended uses. Note that medical-grade surgical masks and N95 filtering facepiece respirators are currently reserved for use in healthcare setting and other required settings as supplies are extremely limited:


Types and Intended Uses of Face Coverings During COVID-19



Cloth Face Covering

Disposable Face Covering

Medical-Grade Surgical Mask

N95 Respirator







Commercially manufactured or homemade cloth face coverings that are washable; help contain wearer's respiratory emissions.

Commercially manufactured face coverings; help contain wearer's respiratory emissions.

FDA approved masks to help protect the wearer from large droplets and splashes; help contain wearer's respiratory emissions.

NIOSH approved respiratory protection from airborne dusts and aerosols; help contain wearer's respiratory emissions.

Intended Use

For campus community and non-healthcare settings (e.g., research labs, office spaces, shop areas).

Required in general work/research/lab settings when unable to maintain physical distancing of 6 ft. or more.

Wearing of face coverings are not required when walking or working alone, or when passing others in hallways.

Currently these masks are to be reserved for use in healthcare settings (per CDC) unless required for employees in certain jobs or with task-specific hazards as determined by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS).

Adapted with permission from Stanford University EH&S 2020

Additional Resources:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance on Use of Cloth Face Coverings:

State of Michigan Health & Human Services Frequently Asked Questions on Face Coverings:

For a print only version of this guidance, visit here.