General Lab Information

Use of Cloth Face Coverings

The Department of Energy has mandated that cloth face coverings be worn in public settings at all its labs and sites - including Brookhaven - whenever social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

photo of woman donning facemask

Face coverings are not respirators or personal protective equipment (PPE). They are also not the kind of masks worn by health care workers (N-95 or K-95), which you must have supervisory approval to wear at Brookhaven based on work planning and control. The Lab will provide a cloth face covering for you, or you may bring in your own. You may use any cotton or polyester blend cloth for a face covering, such as a scarf, bandana, or old shirt that is cut in strips and attached behind your ears. Your supervisor or EH&H representative will have a Lab-issue face covering available for you when you return to the site, but please wear your own until you receive one.

Please remember to wash your face covering regularly. Whatever you use for a face covering should cover your nose and mouth and should not be made of material that makes it hard to breathe, like nylon or plastic. Guidance on making, wearing, and washing face coverings can be found on the CDC website.

If you work in an office or cubicle that allows a safe minimum 6-foot distance between you and your colleagues (or if there is a cubicle wall between you and your colleagues), you do not need to wear a face covering while in your office. However, if you work in an open area where you will regularly come in contact with other staff, you must wear a face covering. In addition, when going into public spaces such as restrooms, building hallways, stairwells, elevators, or meeting rooms, you also must wear a face covering.

This guidance does not replace the need for PPE in medical, radiological areas, or other settings, as determined by work planning and control.