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Photo of free N95 masks in a basket in a store. Sign reads, 'Free N95 respirator masks provided by the US department of Health and Human Services.

COVID-19 Mask Tips for When You're the Only Person with a Mask On

Masking for your health is now optional in most places, including public transportation.

It is more important than ever that you wear the right kind of mask to ensure you have the best protection. Experts specifically recommend respirator masks such as N95, KN95, and KF94 especially now that you are likely to encounter more unmasked people.

Want to learn more about one-way masking (when only one person is wearing a mask in a crowd, rather than everyone masking) and how to best protect yourself? Check out this article.

Now available: FREE N95 masks at nationwide pharmacies.

Many pharmacies have partnered with the federal government to offer free masks! You can find out where to get FREE N95 masks at this link. It is important for you to call ahead and ask if masks are available.

Don't forget these key tips about wearing N95 masks!

At Able SC: FREE KN95 masks until we run out!

We have many KN95 masks at Able SC's Columbia office that you can drop by and collect to help you during this time!

Need more masking tips? Check out this resource from the CDC.

Why wear respirator masks?

A recent study found that people who wear N95 masks consistently were 83% less likely to get COVID-19!


Compared to other masks:

  • People who wear cloth masks were 56% less likely to get COVID-19
  • People who wear surgical masks were 66% less likely to get COVID-19
  • Wearing the right mask can mean the difference between staying healthy and getting sick

Why is it optional now? Recently federal courts said that masking on public transportation is no longer a requirement. Many public and private transportation companies changed their requirements to make wearing a facemask optional. In some cases, these changes occurred while people were mid-transit and not able to consent to a ride with unmasked passengers.

Many of us depend on public transportation:

  • to go to the doctor
  • to go to work
  • to shop for groceries
  • to visit friends and family
  • to go to other appointments

Even though masking is not required, you can still wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

Protect yourself further with vaccination-

call the South Carolina Vaccine Access Hotline

(800) 787-6046 

Still have questions? Contact the Disability Vaccine Access Hotline at (800) 787-6046 

South Carolina Disability Vaccine Access Hotline: 

A hotline staffed by Able South Carolina and Disability Rights South Carolina designed to provide people with disabilities information about many different aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine.  These resources include but are not limited to:

  • Address any concerns you may have about getting the vaccine      
  • Find a trusted medical provider 
  • Assist with vaccine appointment scheduling
  • Navigate transportation to get your vaccine 
  • Offer resources and guidance on transportation to and from vaccine 
  • Answer some of the most common disability related questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Provide information about accessible vaccine sites based on crowd sourced data 
  • Address other disability-related barriers about the vaccine you may be experiencing     


The staff of the Disability Vaccine Access Hotline are not licensed medical providers.  They are unable to offer medical advice about the best vaccine for you or predict how the vaccine may affect you or your family

Able South Carolina
720 Gracern Road Suite 106 | Columbia, South Carolina 29210
803.779.5121 |

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