PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is asking the public to wear paper masks or homemade cloth ones.

They say a surgical mask or an N95 mask is not needed.

Please leave those for the front line responders.

The public are being asked to wear the masks when they can’t perform social distancing and any time they leave the house.

Scarves and bandanas can also be used if you don’t have any masks.

You should try to wash any cloth masks routinely to get any germs out of it.

And don’t wear one that is damp or wet from spit or mucus.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says this is not a pass to go out and socialize.

It’s another tool in the the toolbox to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

The federal government and CDC are also calling for people to wear masks to prevent the spread.

According to President Trump, it is voluntary at this point.

Health experts from Johns Hopkins University say this step could help keep some particles of the Coronavirus out of the air.

“So healthcare workers absolutely need to be wearing a mask. They went very high-tech masks; there is a shortage of those. But there’s a second benefit of masks, if we all wear masks in public, even if they’re crude masks–they’re just made out of cloth–then the reasoning goes that we will collectively all breath less particles into the air, and be less likely to infect each other,” said Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

As Governor Tom Wolf put it, this could help protect innocent bystanders at the grocery store, the clerk at the register, or the people restocking the shelves.

He says we owe it to them to keep them safe.