As part of our ongoing commitment to the safety and well-being of our patients, visitors, and staff, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) regularly evaluates and adjusts our masking guidelines based on the number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

Our systemwide policy for masking applies to all our hospitals, member organizations and care facilities. However, when conditions within a community call for more caution, our hospitals and urgent care locations may require masking in additional settings. 

UMMS Masking Guidelines

Most of the time, masks are not required for patients, visitors and staff in our facilities. Please note the following times when masks are required: 

  • If a patient requests that a visitor wear a mask or staff members do so when they are providing care
  • When care partners are visiting or staff members are providing care to a high-risk patient – often this is when someone has a suppressed immune system, but other conditions may apply
  • When care partners are visiting or staff members are providing care to any patient who is inside an area dedicated to immunosuppressed patients (for example, an oncology or transplant area) or in any other area that the provider or leadership has designated as having high-risk patients
  • For patients who have COVID-like, respiratory symptoms, e.g., coughing, sneezing, etc., and for visitors (care partners) who come along with these patients

If you are uncertain whether a mask is required, please ask a staff member. And, of course, patients, visitors and staff members may always choose to wear masks in situations where one is not required.

If you need or want a mask but do not have one, we can provide you with one.

Masking Etiquette

When masks are required, please observe the following guidelines:

  • Ensure masks cover the nose and mouth without gaps.
  • We encourage the use of well-fitting, high-quality masks, such as N95 or KN95.
  • While cloth masks are allowed, medical masks are preferred.
  • Neck gaiters and masks with exhalation ports are not permitted.

Thank you for your cooperation as we adapt our guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone within the UMMS community. 

Learn more about the best types of masks to protect you from COVID.

Updated March 4, 2024