The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public and at work. Signs with clear visuals are a solid way to communicate good habits. At the same time, long-term behavior change is formed through verbal repetition and reminders. That means that managers need to continually remind all employees to wear a mask and to wear it properly.

If 1/3 of your team doesn't speak English, how can you ensure your communicating mask safety everyone? 16% of the US population speaks Spanish as their first language and 25-30% of the food industry is comprised of employees who don't speak English as a first language. Communicating in an employee's first language builds common ground and leads to safer, more productive work environments. Here are some phrases to help you communicate mask safety to your Spanish-speaking team members.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Do you say "máscara" or "mascarilla"?

Is your translation tool telling you to say "máscara" or "mascarilla"? Which one is correct? Which one will your team understand? The short answer is, both are fine and understood in the era of COVID as coverings for your face. If we want to dig into specifics, "máscara" mostly refers to a mask that one might wear for Halloween, while "mascarilla" or "mascarilla de tela" (cloth mask) refers to a covering that is meant for cosmetic purposes. You'll likely hear your team say "mascarilla" more than they say "máscara".

5 Spanish Phrases For Proper Mask Use

Please wear your mask. (English)

- Por favor, usa tu mascarilla. (Spanish)

- por fa-vor, oo-sah tu ma-ska-ree-ya (layman's transliteration)

Please put your mask over your nose. (en)

- ¿Puede poner tu mascarilla sobre tu nariz? (es)

- pway-day poh-ner tu ma-ska-ree-ya so-bray tu na-rees

Put your mask over your nose. (en)

- Pon su mascarilla sobre su nariz. (es)

- pon su ma-ska-ree-ya so-bray su na-rees

Your mask needs to cover your nose and mouth. (en)

- Su mascarilla necesita cubrirse la nariz y la boca. (es)

- su ma-ska-ree-ya ne-se-see-ta ku-breer-say la na-rees ee la bo-ka

Masks protect you and me (en)

- Mascarillas nos protegen a ti y a mí. (es)

- ma-ska-ree-yas nos pro-tay-hen a tee ee a me

Try out these phrases and let us know how your team members respond. If Spanish just isn't your speed, then here are three more tips to help you communicate effectively with employees who don't speak English, without having to learn a new language.