General Lab Information

Department of Energy Guidance on Use of Cloth Face Coverings

May 20, 2020

The Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to taking every precaution to ensure the health and wellbeing of our Federal employees and our support service contractors. DOE will continue to implement all measures necessary to reduce the risks of the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining the crucial mission essential functions to support our nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that cloth face coverings be worn in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. DOE employees and their families are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines on the use of cloth face coverings in these public settings.

While on DOE-owned or leased property, all individuals (i.e., federal employees, contractors, and visitors) must wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas (e.g., primary hallways, elevator bank areas). This does not include workspaces, such as an office, where an employee is at least 6 feet away from others. Please note that at security checkpoints individuals may be asked to briefly lower their covering for identification purposes. Also, visitors should be advised of this policy when being invited to a DOE-owned or leased property.

In accordance with CDC guidance, individuals are encouraged to fashion face coverings from household items or common materials, such as a clean T-shirt or other clean cloth, which can cover the nose and mouth area. Instructions for making coverings are available here: U.S. Surgeon General's Instructions for Creating a Cloth Face Cover. As this is a public health recommendation to slow the spread of COVID-19, and not an occupational health requirement, personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirators or surgical masks, will not be issued for this purpose.

Employees should be reminded that the use of a cloth face covering is an additional measure to help reduce the spread of the virus; they are not a substitute for social distancing and hand washing.

Any questions about the use of face coverings should be directed to COVID-19 Inquiries mailbox, covid-19inquiries@hq.doe.gov.

See CDC guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.