General Public Guidance

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General Public Guidance

HCPH has compiled resources intended to help the public in better understanding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), ways to stay healthy, suggestions for supporting their communities, and more. Select documents may be available in multiple languages.  

Resources are organized based on topic. Click on the options below to jump to each section or scroll down to view more.






Latest Updates


IMPORTANT: Guidance For Returning To Work After COVID-19 Illness Or Exposure
IMPORTANT: Guidance For Returning To Work After COVID-19 Illness Or Exposure

Please see the following resources for returning to work in non-healthcare settings following COVID-19 isolation or quarantine. This includes those individuals who may or may not have experienced symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as those who were exposed to COVID-19 without wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Return To Work Guidance (Brief) English | Spanish | Korean | Vietnamese | Arabic

Return To Work Guidance (Extended) English

2020 - 2021 School Year Updates
2020 - 2021 School Year Updates

Please view the School Guidance and Updates resources for the latest news on in-person instruction and reopenings in Harris County.

Halloween COVID Guidance

With COVID-19 still lurking our community, door-to-door trick or treating during Halloween is considered high risk for both children and those who hand out the treats. However, there are ways to make it safer and still have fun. View the resources below for tips on staying safe during the holiday!

Celebrate Halloween and Stay Safe From COVID-19 English | Español




COVID Reopening Benchmarks

On June 11th, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo released public health recommendations to better understand how to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Leading Harris County: Benchmarks for a Healthy Community guide outlines this process. 

To see the newest benchmarks, please click here or go directly to Ready Harris.

COVID Reopening Benchmarks (Updated 8/11/20)



General Guidance

Select resources are available for general guidelines, recommendations for everyday activities, and more. This section includes all General Public Guidance materials. For specific topics, it is encouraged to view individual sections below.

If the information you are searching for is not shown here, refer to the remaining sections of this General Public Guidance resource as well as Reopening Guidelines and Documents resources.

Domestic Violence Resources
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting
NOTICE: FDA Recalls Hand Sanitizers
Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
Guidance for Maternal Health
The Power Of Social Distancing
Reducing the Risk for Apartment Residents
Safely Protesting During COVID-19
Do Not Mix These Cleaning Products
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
Viruses Don’t Discriminate and Neither Should We (PDF)
What Happens After Being Tested For COVID-19? Surge Sites
Keeping Safe In Multigenerational Homes
Guidance for General Public (PDF)
Guidance for People at Higher Risk (PDF)
Guidance for Safe Sex Interactions
COVID-19 Activity in Parks and Recreation
Guidance for Public Transportation
Guidance for Grocery Shopping (PDF)
Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Guidance for Pet Shelters and Owners (PDF)
Guidance for Funerals (PDF)
How to Treat Mild Symptoms at Home
Reducing Risk for Older Adults
Guidance for Pregnant Women (PDF)



Cleaning and Disinfection

Maintaining cleanliness - including disinfecting surfaces - is essential in helping to decrease the spread of illness. Select resources for cleaning protocols are below with additional materials available on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Guidance for Grocery Shopping (PDF)
How Long Does COVID-19 Last On Surfaces?
Temperature Check Notice
Do Not Mix These Cleaning Products
NOTICE: FDA Recalls Hand Sanitizers
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting



Community Health Guides

Harris County is home to many individuals from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and races. To help ensure everyone represented has the resources needed for learning more about COVID-19 and staying healthy - especially any information that is unique to a community - Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has compiled select Community Health Guides that can be downloaded and shared.

COVID-19 Community Toolkit (Latinx)
COVID-19 Community Toolkit (Asian American)
COVID-19 Community Toolkit (LGBTQ)
COVID-19 Community Toolkit (African Americans)



Community Resources

Resources are available for the following:

  • Food Fairs
  • Food Assistance
  • Financial Assistance
  • Mental Health Services
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
  • General Information

For a complete guide to these resources, view the materials below. Please check back often as these guides are updated periodically.

COVID-19 Resources: Community Resource List



Face Coverings and Masks

The use of face coverings and face masks may help to reduce the spread of the virus. This is not intended to replace social distancing or hand washing recommendations. Select resources are available for the proper use of face coverings.

For more information about the use of cloth face coverings, visit the CDC's resources for Using Cloth Face Coverings to Slow The Spread of COVID-19.

For details regarding Mask Order Policies in Harris County, please refer to the County Order resources on Ready Harris.

Printable Sign: Customers Should Wear Face Coverings / Face Masks
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
How to Wear a Face Mask Properly



Mass Gatherings and Community Events

As per the CDC, large events and mass gatherings may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Examples of these events include (but are not limited to) conferences, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, etc. 

For guidance on the following, please see the CDC website...

Safely Protesting During COVID-19



Mental Health

Select resources are available for supporting mental health and reducing stress during the spread of COVID-19.

If you or a loved one need help in coping with anxiety, grief, or other issues, please reach out to the Harris County COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-251-7544.

Coping After A Disaster
Mental Health for HCPH Employees (PDF)
Guidance for Self Isolation
Prioritizing Mental Health During COVID-19 (PDF)
Managing Pre-Existing Mental Health Conditions During COVID-19 (PDF)
First Responders & Coping With Stress
Mental Health and Children (PDF)



Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Select resources are available regarding the use of PPE, including face coverings.

Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Social Distancing and the Breathing Zone: Why 6 FT of Distance?
Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Sequence
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting



Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Select resources are available for those individuals who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Additional resources - including those for caring for young children - may be found on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Guidance for Pregnant Women (PDF)
Guidance for Early Care & Education
Guidance for Maternal Health



Social Distancing and Self Monitoring

Select resources are available concerning social distancing guidelines and recommendations for self monitoring.

How to Treat Mild Symptoms at Home
Guidance for Self Isolation
Social Distancing and the Breathing Zone: Why 6 FT of Distance?
Keeping Safe In Multigenerational Homes
Reducing the Risk for Apartment Residents
The Power Of Social Distancing



Social Media Toolkits

In an effort to educate and share awareness regarding COVID-19, HCPH encourages you to utilize and share the social media images created by our departments throughout your own social media platforms. 




Testing and Results

COVID-19 testing is available at many locations across Harris County. For testing locations nearest you as well as details regarding acquiring test results, please visit the Testing Locations and Information resources.




Vulnerable Populations

Based on available information from medical professionals, it has been found that adults over the age of 65 as well as people of any age who have severe underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk from serious illness from COVID-19. More information about those conditions that may impact vulnerability can be found in the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) resources for those who are recommended to take extra precautions as well as those who are at higher risk.

In addition to information available from the CDC, HCPH has put together resources that vulnerable populations may find helpful. 

Reducing Risk for Older Adults
Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Guidance for Grocery Shopping (PDF)
Guidance for Public Transportation
Social Distancing and the Breathing Zone: Why 6 FT of Distance?
How Long Does COVID-19 Last On Surfaces?
Guidance for Care Givers (PDF)
Guidance for Safe Sex Interactions
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Guidance for People at Higher Risk (PDF)
What Happens At A Testing Site?
Guidance for General Public (PDF)
Keeping Safe In Multigenerational Homes
Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (PDF)
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
Do Not Mix These Cleaning Products
Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
Guidance for Assisted Living (PDF)
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting