Ben Affleck spotted with his protective mask off to smoke a cigarette in public

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Ben Affleck was spotted running errands in Los Angeles while smoking a cigarette with his protective mask partially off.

The 47-year-old actor has been spotted regularly with his new girlfriend, Ana de Armas, wearing masks while going for walks around town as the world tries to practice social distancing to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. While the duo typically takes precautions, Affleck partially took off his mask so that he could smoke a cigarette while he walked around, effectively rendering it useless.

As the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to overwhelm America’s health care workers who grapple to treat the worst patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this month changed its guidelines to urge citizens to do their part in stopping the spread, which now includes protecting your face with some type of cloth covering when you step out of the safety of your home to restock on essential goods.

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Actor Ben Affleck smokes a cigarette on the street in Los Angeles while out and about running errands.

Actor Ben Affleck smokes a cigarette on the street in Los Angeles while out and about running errands. (Boaz / BACKGRID USA)

Exhaling smoke while in public specifically can be hazardous given that the masks are not meant to protect the person wearing it, but the people around them. The CDC only recently changed its recommendations “in light of new evidence” that shows “a significant portion” of those with the novel virus are either asymptomatic -- meaning they lack symptoms altogether -- or presymptomatic, meaning they can spread the virus to others without first showing signs of it themselves.

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Ben Affleck was spotted smoking a cigarette with his protective mask partially off. 

Ben Affleck was spotted smoking a cigarette with his protective mask partially off.  (Boaz / BACKGRID USA)

Still, the actor had his cigarette and blew smoke out without the protection of a mask. However, he did make sure to keep his mask over his nose, preventing some exhalation particles from getting out unfiltered.

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It’s unclear from the photos, however, if he remained six feet away from anyone while having the smoke, which experts say is the minimum safe distance to avoid infecting others. As a result, it’s possible that the smoke break wasn’t hazardous to others, just a tad reckless.

Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.