Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.

Even if you do not have symptoms, stay home as much as you can and practice social distancing if you must go out. That’s because you can be sick with COVID-19 and spread the illness to others as much as 48 hours before you have symptoms.

Vaccines to prevent COVID-19 have been developed to and are in the early stages of distribution across the state. For the latest updates on the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in Massachusetts, please visit Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Information.

Social distancing

People can spread COVID19 up to 48 hours before they have symptoms.  That’s why social distancing is so important— no matter what.

Now that many businesses are open, some schools have in-person learning, and some employees are heading to work outside of their home, here are some tips to keep safe while you’re around others:

  • Keep your distance. No matter what, six feet or more is best. Try an “air hug” or wave to greet people. Give people their space.
  • Keep it outside. Being outside is best. Even if you are outside in a private setting, wear a mask if you might be closer than 6 feet, and always wear a mask in public settings regardless of distance from others (it’s required!).
  • Mask up. Wear a mask anytime you are indoors and around other people. Masks are required to be worn in all spaces open to the public, indoors or outdoors.
  • Keep it flowing. When you are indoors, have good airflow by opening a window or door. You can use a fan in a window to increase airflow.
  • Keep it small. Limit the number of people you are with. This helps to avoid “superspreader” events.
  • Keep it short. Limit the amount of time you spend with others; the shorter the better (even if you are outdoors).
  • Wash your hands. When you touch things other people touch, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer. Plus, once you take off your mask, you’ll want clean hands.
  • Plan ahead. Going out to eat? To the gym? Or planning to have guests? Check out CDC’s guidelines for more recommendations.
  • Stay safer at home if you are at high risk of COVID-19 or if you live with someone at high risk of COVID-19.

Additional guidance

Reopening and limits on gatherings: Learn about the current phase of Reopening Massachusetts and the latest orders on Limits on Gatherings.

Travel guidance: Travel-related orders and guidance are included in the COVID-19 Travel Advisory.

Carpooling guidance: Visit for information about how to be safe while carpooling.

Stay at home

We are still safer at home while COVID-19 is present in Massachusetts. Safer at home means people over the age of 65 and people who have underlying health conditions – who are at high risk for COVID-19 – should continue to stay home except for essential errands. Read more on


If you have been exposed to possible COVID-19 contact, you will be directed to quarantine by self-monitoring at home in case you get sick.


If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will be directed to self-isolate by separating yourself from others to keep your germs from spreading.

If you have questions about isolation or quarantine, you can call your Local Board of Health or the Department of Public Health’s On-call Epidemiologists at 617-983-6800.

Wear a mask

Governor Baker issued an Order effective November 6, 2020 requiring face masks or cloth face coverings in all public places, whether indoors or outdoors, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Learn more at

It is critical to emphasize that social distancing measures remain in effect and keeping 6 feet apart from others remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.


Treatment options specific to this novel coronavirus are still being developed and evaluated. Antiviral medications used to treat other types of viruses are being used but their efficacy is not known at this time. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of two antibody treatments for early mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients

Visit COVID-19 Vaccine in Massachusetts for more information on COVID-19 Vaccines and about Massachusetts’ plan for phased rollout and distribution.