On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) sent out a press release asking everyone in the state to wear a mask, even in their homes, when around any person who isn’t a part of their immediate family.

The department also announced a major new ad campaign to drive that point home.

The public persuasion effort comes as the number of virus cases increases across the country and as people prepare to travel to family events in the coming holiday season.

A large statewide ad campaign will convey the message in English and Spanish on social media, in print and on the radio. There will also be ads at bus stops, convenience stores and gas stations.

The campaign urges everyone to ask themselves this question when deciding when to wear a mask: “Will I be with anyone I don’t live with?”

It offers the advice, “If the answer is yes, get behind the mask.”

State health officials are stressing the mask use right before the coming slew of family get-togethers and holiday parties that are popular at this time of year.

“Even in small groups of close friends or extended family,” the press release states, “it is critical all North Carolinians wear a mask whenever they are in close contact with anyone outside their immediate household.”

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen stated in the release that everyone must be diligent about mask wearing when getting together with those they don’t live with.

“As we head into cooler months, we do not want to see our case counts continue to rise,” Cohen stated. “The most effective thing we can all do to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to get behind the mask. Whenever North Carolinians are gathering with family or friends — or anyone they don’t live with — it’s critical that everyone do their part and wear a mask.”

The new ad campaign is called the “Whatever Your Reason” campaign. It was created with the help of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers and statewide online focus groups.