For months and months, people across North Carolina have heard instructions about washing their hands and keeping their distance.

However, a new public awareness campaign makes it clear that state officials don’t think enough people have heard those messages in Spanish.

This week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launched the “¡Recuerda las 3Ms!” campaign – also known as the “3M” campaign – to increase awareness, especially in the state’s Hispanic communities, of preventative practices that slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The new campaign is part of a broader public outreach campaign meant to influence “historically marginalized populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

In recent weeks the state has conducted a major testing initiative for minority communities and this new preventative effort is an extension of that attempt to reach everyone in the state.

In a press release announcing the awareness campaign, state officials said that it was created by native Spanish speakers, and it is an “authentic and memorable interpretation of the three key steps to prevention, known in English as: Wear. Wait. Wash.”

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said it’s vital for the state to reach everyone who could be affected by the virus no matter what language they speak.

“It is critical that we create public awareness campaigns that directly reach our Spanish-speaking community,” she said. “In English, many of us are familiar with ‘Know Your 3Ws.’ Now, in Spanish, I hope everyone becomes familiar with ‘¡Recuerda las 3Ms!’ By practicing these simple steps, we can all do our part to slow the spread of this virus.”

NCDHHS is asking people to practice “las 3Ms” to protect themselves and their communities by lowering the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

The message is this: “If you leave home, ‘Recuerda las 3Ms: Mascarilla. Mantener. Manos,’”

If your Spanish is a little rusty, here’s the translation:

  • Mascarilla: Usar una mascarilla de tela cubriendo nariz y boca. (Wear a cloth mask over your nose and mouth.)
  • Mantener: 6 pies (2 metros) de distancia. Evitar estar cerca de los demás. (Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.)
  • Manos: Lavarte las manos con frecuencia o usar desinfectante para manos. (Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.)