A: There are scenarios where you should wear a mask outside, even when you are alone.
To illustrate a few common outdoor mask wearing questions, we will use a comparison to operating the lights on your car.
Think about your nose and mouth like the high beam lights on your car. High beam lights are troublesome when you encounter other commuters, even for a fleeting moment. If you will be in a setting for even a fleeting moment where others are present, turn off your “high beams” by covering your nose and mouth with a mask.
Wearing a mask, like keeping the low beam lights or daytime running lights of your car on, doesn’t disrupt the commuters around you. You can’t go wrong if your mask is on.
Follow local and state laws that require individuals to wear a mask outside. Some regions, such as DC, require individuals to wear a mask outside if there is a chance you will encounter others for even a fleeting moment. You should wear your mask outdoors anytime your will encounter others, especially when mandated by law.
A few helpful tips to guide your outdoor alone time.
Avoid other commuters if walking without a mask is important to you. To do this, you might choose to walk in sparsely populated areas at off-peak times like the early morning.
Be ready to turn off your high beams by covering your nose and mouth. Have your mask easily accessible to pop on quickly if you come close to others. Find a mask that is easy to operate, comfortable, and on your person any time you leave your home.
Get comfortable and familiar with operating your mask while walking. This is a new habit for everyone with a learning curve. Make it your normal to have a mask in your pocket, pull on a mask when stopping to say hello to a neighbor, and masking when passing strangers on the local trail. Small efforts go such a long way!