According to Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure and assessment science at Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, face masks can function as an important visual cue to others.

They’re a “reminder that we need to be taking these precautions and serve as a reminder to people to keep that 6-foot buffer,” Joseph Allen said. “It should be seen as a badge of honor. If I’m wearing a mask out in public, it means I’m concerned about you, I’m concerned about my neighbors, I’m concerned about strangers on the chance that I’m infectious. I want to do my part in limiting how I might impact you.”