Loyola University Chicago

Wellness Center

How to Protest Safely during COVID-19

These harm-reduction tips were adapted and compiled from lists created by NAACP at UT AustinFrontline Medics, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Thank you to these organizations for doing the work!

 Please see the tips below for how to more safely protest during the pandemic. 

Before Protesting

  • Consider who is in your household and their health. Do not risk exposing them to SARS-CoV-2, especially if they are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

    • There are other ways to do antiracist activism besides protesting in the streets. This may look like educating yourself and the people around you, donating to social justice organizations and/or signing petitions.

  • Use the buddy system by asking a friend to go with you

  • Let someone you trust know where you are going

  • Learn your rightswhen it comes to getting stopped by police

  • Items to bring:

    • Water (consider bringing bottles with sports caps to help flush eyes if there is exposure to tear gas)

    • Sunglasses

    • Mask

    • Hand sanitizer

    • Tissues

    • First aid kit

    • Snacks

    • Hat to protect from the sun and help cover your face

  • Do not bring cannabis or cannabis products

  • Dress in long sleeves (or bring an outer layer) and wear pants to protect your skin from chemical agents such as tear gas or pepper spray

  • Wear comfortable, protective shoes

  • Wear your hair up and out of your face 

  • Do not wear contact lenses, eye makeup or jewelry

  • Fully charge your phone, and consider bringing an extra battery pack and charger 

  • Write two emergency contacts with telephone numbers directly onto your hand or arm with permanent marker in case you are arrested

  • Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Nourish your body with the food you have available to you, stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Reach out to your support system and practice self-care. 

While Protesting

  • Stay focused and aware of your surroundings at all times

  • Wear a mask and avoid touching your face

  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from others to maintain physical distancing

  • Stay hydrated by frequently drinking water

  • Don’t shake hands, hug, share drinks or engage in long face-to-face conversations

  • Cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow

  • Document injuries caused by police with photos and note the time and location

  • Turn off Face ID and Touch ID, switch to Airplane Mode and disable data

  • Enable a passcode on your phone

  • Do not share any images of protesters on social media to protect their identities

  • If your eyes exposed to pepper spray or tear gas:

    • Do not rub them; blinking and rinsing are most effective

    • Tilt head sideways and rinse each eye with water (and diluted baby shampoo if available)

    • Do not flush with milk, because the goal is to flush, not neutralize


After Protesting

  • Change your clothes as soon as possible, shower and disinfect your belongings

  • Continue to take care of yourself, mentally, physically and emotionally 

  • Consider a two week self isolation. It is possible to transmit SARS-CoV-2 without showing any symptoms. 

  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19. If you have symptoms, call Dial-a-Nurse at 773-508-8883

  • Do not share any photos of protesters on social media.