Updated masking requirements at Ohio and Florida locations

Cases of COVID-19 are rising throughout the country. Within our health system, we have updated masking requirements for patients, visitors and caregivers to create additional layers of protection as we seek to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Requirements for patients and visitors

Previously, Cleveland Clinic strongly recommended all patients wear masks in our facilities.Now, outpatients are required to wear masks in all Cleveland Clinic facilities in Ohio and Florida,unless they have a health or behavioral condition that prevents them from wearing one. Inpatients and Emergency Department patients are strongly encouraged to wear a mask in all Cleveland Clinic facilities in Ohio and Florida. Visitors are still required to wear masks inside our locations.

Patients and visitors may wear a mask from home. If they arrive without a mask, an ear loop mask will be provided to patients and visitors in Ohio and Florida. Outpatients and inpatients may remove their mask when alone in their rooms, but must wear them when leaving their room or when others enter their room.

The following exceptions apply:

  • To children under 10, or to any other minor who cannot safely wear a face covering
  • A medical condition, including those with respiratory conditions that restrict breathing, mental health conditions, or disability contraindicates the wearing of a facial covering
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is intubated
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

If an outpatient refuses a mask, use these messaging resources to offer a compassionate explanation on the importance of masking. If the patient still refuses, you may offer the patient a face shield and/or don PPE using standard precautions. Click 'Caregiver Communication Resources' under the COVID-19 toolkit Caregiver Resources tab for more scripting resources. 

Requirements for caregivers

All caregivers will now be expected to wear face masks (surgical or ear loop), rather than cloth masks, inside our facilities.Ear loop masks will be provided to caregivers and available at screening locations or unit supply rooms. Caregivers should continue to wear a mask on campus and as they arrive to a screening location. Caregivers should also continue to don additional personal protective equipment (PPE) when required per our current PPE recommendations. Caregivers can remove their mask if alone in a private space.

We will soon require caregivers who interact with patients to also wear a face shield, in addition to an ear loop mask. Caregivers in Florida have already started using face shields, and details for Ohio caregivers are forthcoming.

Please continue to encourage a culture of masking and take measures to protect one another, whether at work or outside of work. As Cleveland Clinic caregivers, we have a special responsibility to set an example and help keep our workplace and communities safe.

We will continue to evaluate our approach to masking within the context of current COVID-19 infection data.