Beard bra, breather receiver, chin chalupa, full-frontal face holster... whatever nickname you'd like to call your face mask, they've been a requirement in Montana for just over a week now. As you are well aware, Governor Steve Bullock ordered us to wear a mask in public basically anywhere you can't socially distance, as well as indoors at nearly all public places/businesses. Even President Trump began urging mask use this week saying,

Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they have an effect, and we need everything we can get

There are exceptions to the mask order, of course. Some of which don't completely make sense or are confusing. For example, you are allowed to take them off in a restaurant to eat and drink. But do you have to wear them when you walk in the door? Can you take them off post-hostess? Or do you wait until after the waitstaff takes your order? Do you put it back on when they come by to refill your glass or bring you another beer? Confusing.

My wife and I actually encountered this exact situation for the first time last night when we stopped at our neighborhood restaurant & bar to drop off some items for a charity raffle. We were like, "do we wear them in, then take them off?" At what point in the restaurant experience is it okay to remove them? I was also slightly confused about protocol in the office as I returned from a 14-day quarantine this week. I wear my mask in the hotel building and while riding the elevator to our office, but do I leave it on while sitting at my relatively isolated desk? And I certainly take off the mask while I'm on the radio or in the production studios. If I didn't, it would sound like I'm talking through a pillow.

Regardless, as Montanan's adjust to the mask mandate, now seems like a good time for a mask ettiequte refresher, per the Yellowstone County Unified Health Command.

Do’s:

  • Inspect the mask. Check to make sure the mask is not torn and that the ear loops or ties are secure.
  • If the mask you are using has ties, bring both top ties to the crown of your head and secure with a bow. Tie the bottom ties securely at the nape of your neck in a bow.
  • Remove your mask when you're able to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. When not using, store your mask in a paper bag labeled with your name.
  • For ear loop masks, remove the mask from the side with your head tilted forward. Handle only the ear loops.
  • For tied masks, remove by handling only the ties, and untie the bottom tie first.
  • Routinely wash and dry your cloth mask in a washing machine at the hottest setting allowable for the fabric.
  • Wash your hands before and after removing the mask.

Don’ts:

  • Don't wear the mask if it is wet or soiled; use a clean mask.
  • Don’t leave a mask hanging off one ear or down around the chin or neck. This creates a risk of self-contamination.
  • Don’t touch the front of the mask, as it is contaminated after use. Wash your hands immediately if you touch the front of your mask.
  • Don’t place your mask on work surfaces.

For more on mask use, read this guide from the CDC. My wife ordered enough masks for each member of our household to have a fresh mask for each day of the week. There are a million different styles and varieties to fit your personality or match your outfit. We can wash and dry a weeks worth of masks at one time, instead of dealing with cleaning them daily.