San Francisco, Alameda, Marin and Contra Costa counties all announced face mask requirements! They will begin enforcing the orders on Wednesday, April 22.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Under the county orders, face coverings include any fabric that fully covers the nose and mouth and fits securely.
- It could be a bandanna, scarf, neck gaiter or homemade cotton mask.
- Masks are generally not required while exercising or traveling in a car.
- And, in most counties, children 12 and under are excluded from having to wear them.
State officials recommend wearing cloth coverings, which can be made of a variety of materials including cotton, silk or linen. The primary reason, they emphasize, is to “reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but has yet to show any symptoms.”
Follow these basic steps when wearing a face mask!
- Make sure it completely covers your mouth and nose.
- Once you put it on, leave the damn thing alone! Try not to adjust it.
- Wash it very frequently.
- Continue with the social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and good hygiene practices (washing your hands thoroughly and often).
- Discard the covering if it is damaged, stretched out or no longer fits over your entire mouth and nose.
Officials are also encouraging residents to avoid purchasing N95s or surgical masks, which are in short supply and should be reserved for frontline health care workers.
“Face coverings could provide some additional protection against COVID-19, but Californians should not have a false sense of security if they choose to wear them. Make sure you’re also staying six feet away from other people if you have to leave your home to get groceries or prescriptions,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a press release.
Check out this CDC guide for more on how to properly wear face coverings, and instructions for making your own.
Federal and local officials, are also still asking the public to reserve N95 or surgical masks — considered “critical supplies” — for the thousands of frontline health care workers who urgently need them.