Mask Up

Mask Up with Simone Biles

WHAT: Mayor Sylvester Turner created MASK UP!, a grass roots public health information campaign to encourage Houstonians to continue to safeguard themselves from potential exposure to COVID-19. The campaign kicked off with a distribution of 50,000 masks to the senior population in targeted neighborhoods.

WHY: This campaign focuses primarily on the Complete Communities and other at-risk neighborhoods with large percentages of residents, particularly seniors, living with health conditions that make them the most vulnerable to contracting the virus.

WHO: Although seniors are especially vulnerable, we encourage everyone to wear a mask in public spaces.  Many diverse neighborhoods are coping with socio-economic challenges and health disparities, such as high rates of diabetes, heart disease and asthma, that can make a COVID-19 diagnosis a life or death emergency.  MASK UP! protects the entire community.

WHERE: The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends wearing face coverings in grocery stores, drug stores, and other public settings where social distancing measures can be difficult to maintain. The CDC also advises wearing masks to slow the spread of the virus by helping to prevent people who may have the virus, but do not know it, from transmitting it to others.

HOW: Look for MASK UP! reminders or messages throughout the city in grocery and retail stores, on social platforms and outdoor media outlets, such as billboards to help show how to protect yourself.

Simone Biles, the most decorated World Champion in gymnastics and Olympic Gold Medalist is a celebrity ambassador, offering her resources to extend COVID-19 safety information to Houstonians. Simone will be joined by Grammy Award winning rapper Slim Thug who is also a COVID-19 survivor and Houston Astros player, Carlos Correa.

Thank you for considering joining Mayor Turner’s effort to keep Houston seniors and the most vulnerable safe during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.

Houston Inspired


  1. SHOULD I WEAR A MASK? The CDC is encouraging everyone, 10 and older, to wear mask in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  2. I DON’T HAVE A MASK. WHERE CAN I GET A FREE MASK? Councilmembers are hosting mask distributions for their individual districts. Click here to learn your district Council Member or by calling 3-1-1.
  3. WILL I RECEIVE A FINE FOR NOT WEARING A MASK? The Houston Police Department has started issuing citations to people who are not wearing masks in public, if they are not exempt from the governor’s executive order on wearing masks. Please see “Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Issues Proclamation To Limit Gatherings.”
    We know wearing a mask or face covering in public is one of the most effective methods to slow the spread of COVID-19.
    The MASK UP! campaign is to educate the public on the benefits of wearing a mask to prevent community spread of COVID-19.
  4. CAN I WEAR A MASK I MADE MYSELF? Absolutely. Wearing a mask you made actually helps to ensure we can supply doctors and other frontline workers with masks.
  5. I WANT TO SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN. HOW CAN I HELP? Excellent. Volunteers are what make our city great. There are several ways you can support the campaign. We have a digital media kit with images. Feel free to download here and share on your social media platforms. You can reach out to your councilmember to see if they need help with mask distribution. And of course, the biggest way to help is to wear a mask every time you’re in public to show others how important this initiative is to the health of our city.
  6. HOW DO YOU WEAR A FACE MASK? According to the CDC, cloth face coverings should:
    • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • be secured with ties or ear loops
    • include multiple layers of fabric
    • allow for breathing without restriction
    • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
  7. WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING? According to the CDC, social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing:
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people
    • Do not gather in groups
    • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings
  8. HOW DO YOU SOCIAL DISTANCE IN PUBLIC SPACES?  According to the CDC, if you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others. Also consider other options:
    • Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
    • Consider a grocery delivery service.

    Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when around others, including when you have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store.

    • Cloth face coverings should NOT be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others, even when you wear a face covering.

    Avoid gatherings of any size outside your household, such as a friend’s house, parks, restaurants, shops, or any other place. This advice applies to people of any age, including teens and younger adults. Children should not have in-person playdates while school is out. To help maintain social connections while social distancing, learn tips to keep children healthy while school’s out.