Tips to Continue to Protect Yourself as Missouri Re-Opens

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As the state re-opens due to COVID-19, concerns of public safety are still in question. Check out a few tips and guidelines from the Center of Disease Control to protect yourself.

Avoid close contact

  • Put distance between yourself and other people. (at least 6ft apart)

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

Grocery shopping/Public Outings

  • Sanitize your hands often: Use hand sanitizer before entering the store and after leaving, NC State says. You should also consider using hand sanitizer before and after selecting produce items.
  • If your store isn’t providing disinfecting wipes, bring your own wipes to use on carts, basket handles and card readers, according to NC State.
  • Wear a mask: The CDC now recommends that people wear cloth face coverings when they go out, including when they go to the grocery store. This recommendation is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from people who are infected but don’t realize it because they aren’t showing symptoms.
  • Practice social distancing: As with any public setting, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) from others.
  • Touch only what you buy: Try not to touch things unnecessarily, NC State says. That means don’t pick up multiple produce items to try to find the ripest one, for example.
  • Gloves aren’t necessary: Wearing gloves to the store isn’t necessary because the gloves become contaminated the same way your hands do, according to The Washington Post. Washing or sanitizing your hands before and after entering the store is what’s important. But if you choose to wear gloves, use disposable ones and discard them before you get into your car, if you’re driving, or as soon as you get home if you’re on foot or taking public transportation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Don’t touch your face: Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, according to the CDC.

When you get home 

  • Wash your hands: You should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after handling food packaging, according to NC State.
  • Don’t leave your food outside: Although some people on social media have suggested leaving your groceries in your garage for three days to kill the virus, this is bad advice. Not only is it not scientifically proven, it’s also a food safety issue, according to NC State. Leaving food outside, in your garage or car, may mean that the food is not stored at the proper temperature to prevent bacterial growth; and it could also increase the risk of pests such as rodents.
  • Rinse your produce: it’s always a good idea — even when there’s no pandemic — to rinse fresh fruit and vegetables with water to remove dirt, debris and pesticides, and reduce levels of foodborne germs, Benjamin Chapman, a professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, told Live Science previously.
  • Don’t use soap: There’s no need to use soap or chemical disinfectants on your produce, Chapman said. Dish soap is not approved for use on foods, and consuming it could lead to nausea and upset stomach, Live Science previously reported.
  • Wiping food packaging isn’t necessary: There’s no evidence that touching food packaging is linked with transmission of the new coronavirus, according to the Food and Drug Administration. However, if you are concerned, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution, the FDA says.
  • Wash reusable bags: If you use reusable grocery bags (although some states, such as Massachusetts, have banned reusable shopping bags during the pandemic), you should wash them after a trip to the store, either by putting them in the laundry (for cloth bags) or using soap or other disinfectants for plastic bags, according to NC State.

Sew and No Sew Instructions

Sewn Cloth Face Covering

Supplies needed to create a cloth face covering are displayed. The supplies pictured include: one sewing machine, one twelve-inch ruler, one pencil, two six inch pieces of elastic string, two rectangle pieces of cotton cloth, 1 sewing needle, 1 bobby pin, 1 spool of thread, and 1 pair of scissors.


  • Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric
  • Two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties)
  • Needle and thread (or bobby pin)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine


1. Cut out two 10-by-6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric. Use tightly woven cotton, such as quilting fabric or cotton sheets. T-shirt fabric will work in a pinch. Stack the two rectangles; you will sew the mask as if it was a single piece of fabric.

A close up of the two rectangular pieces of cloth needed to make a cloth face covering is shown. These pieces of cloth have been cut using a pair of scissors. Each piece of cloth measures ten inches in width and six inches in length.

2. Fold over the long sides ¼ inch and hem. Then fold the double layer of fabric over ½ inch along the short sides and stitch down.

The top diagram shows the two rectangle cloth pieces stacked on top of each other, aligning on all sides. The rectangle, lying flat, is positioned so that the two ten inch sides are the top and the bottom of the rectangle, while the two six inch sides are the left and right side of the rectangle. The top diagram shows the two long edges of the cloth rectangle are folded over and stitched into place to create a one-fourth inch hem along the entire width of the top and bottom of the rectangle. The bottom diagram shows the two short edges of the cloth rectangle are folded over and stitched into place to create a one-half inch hem along the entire length of the right and left sides of the face covering.

3. Run a 6-inch length of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the wider hem on each side of the mask. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle or a bobby pin to thread it through. Tie the ends tight.
Don’t have elastic? Use hair ties or elastic head bands. If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the mask behind your head.

Two six inch pieces of elastic or string are threaded through the open one-half inch hems created on the left and right side of the rectangle. Then, the two ends of the elastic or string are tied together into a knot.

4. Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the mask on the elastic and adjust so the mask fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping.

The diagram displays a completed face covering, in which the knots of the elastic strings are tucked inside the left and right hems of the mask and are no longer visible. The cloth is slightly gathered on its left and right sides, and additional stitching is added to the four corners of the gathered cloth rectangle, at the points where the cloth and the elastic or string overlap in these corners.

Quick Cut T-shirt Face Covering (no sew method)


  • T-shirt
  • Scissors


A front view of a T-shirt is shown. A straight, horizontal line is cut across the entire width of the T-shirt, parallel to the T-shirt’s waistline. Using a pair of scissors, the cut is made approximately seven to eight inches above the waistline. Both the front and back layer of the T-shirt are cut simultaneously.
The rectangle piece of cloth that has been cut from the bottom portion of the T-shirt is shown, lying flat. The rectangle is positioned so that the cut that was just made across the entire width of the shirt is the top side of the rectangle while the original waistline of the T-shirt is the bottom side of the rectangle. From the top right-hand corner of the rectangle, the scissors are moved down approximately one-half inch, along the right, hemmed side of the rectangle. From this point, a six to seven-inch, horizontal cut is made through both the front and back side of the cloth, parallel to the top of the rectangle. The scissors then turn ninety-degrees to cut downward, a vertical line that is parallel to the left side of the rectangle; this cut continues downward until it reaches approximately one-half inch above the bottom of the rectangle. The scissors then turn ninety-degrees again to create another six to seven-inch, horizontal cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the rectangle, back towards the right, hemmed side of the shirt, and cuts through the right, hemmed side of the rectangle. This newly cut out piece of cloth is laid to the side. To cut tie strings, the two remaining slivers of the right side of the rectangle are cut vertically along the hem.
The final piece of cloth is unfolded and worn by an individual. The middle of the cloth piece is positioned to cover the nose and mouth area. The four thin pieces of cloth act as tie strings to hold the cloth face covering in place. The strings around neck, then over top of head are tied into knots.

Bandana Face Covering (no sew method)


  • Bandana (or square cotton cloth approximately 20”x20”)
  • Rubber bands (or hair ties)
  • Scissors (if you are cutting your own cloth)


A single coffee filter is shown lying flat, with the curved edge at the top. Cut coffee filter in half with a horizontal line.
The square bandanna is shown lying flat. The bandanna is then folded in half, bringing the top edge of the bandanna to meet the bottom edge of the bandanna.
The top half of the coffee filter, with the curved edge at the top, is placed in the center of the folded bandanna. Then, fold filter in center of folded bandanna. Fold top down. Fold bottom up, to cover the filter entirely.
Insert the folded bandana, with the filter inside, through the center of two rubber bands or hair ties. Place rubber bands or hair ties about 6 inches apart.
Take the left side and the right side of the bandanna and fold each side to the middle and tuck the sides into each other.
The bandanna should now be a continuous, cloth loop since the left and right sides have been tucked into each other.
For more information on tips to continue staying safe, visit the Center of Disease Control here.