Face Coverings

Face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The County and state require people to wear them in some settings. In many cases, it will depend on whether you’ve been vaccinated. 

State guidelines on face coverings 

 

Masks required 

Face coverings are required for everyone in these settings, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.  

  • On public transit, such as buses, trains, airplanes, ferries, taxis and ride services, and in the areas that serve those, such as airports, transit stations, etc. 
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings  
  • Healthcare settings, including long-term care facilities 
  • Detention facilities
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers

  

Fully vaccinated people

If you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you do not need to wear a mask in most cases. Required locations are listed above. 

 

Unvaccinated people 

If you are not fully vaccinated you need to wear a face covering in indoor public settings. That includes retail stores, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices. 

 

Guidance for businesses and other venues 

In settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated people, businesses, venue operators or hosts may choose to: 

  • Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated people to self-attest that they are in compliance before they enter. 
  • Implement vaccine verification to determine whether patrons are required to wear a mask.  
  • Require all patrons to wear masks. 

No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business. 

 

Workplaces 

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board provides guidance for employees in the workplace. See Cal/OSHA and Statewide Industry Guidance on COVID-19

 

Exemptions 

The following are exempt from wearing masks at all times: 

  • People younger than two years old.  
  • People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask.  
  • People who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication. 
  • People for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines. 

 

What to wear and how to wear

Face coverings need to cover your nose and mouth. They can be made of cloth. You can buy them or make yourself, or even improvise from household items like scarves, T-shirts, sweatshirts and towels. Medical grade masks should be saved for healthcare workers.

When choosing a mask, consider how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has. There are two important ways to make sure your mask work the best it can.

  1. Make sure it fits snugly against your face. There should not be any gaps that allow air in or out the edges of the mask.
  2. Pick a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out. A mask with more than one layer will stop droplets from getting inside our mask or escaping if you’re sick.

Mask Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Choose a mask with a nose wire
  • Use a mask fitter or brace over a disposal or cloth mask
  • Check that it fits snugly over nose, mouth, and chin
  • Add layers of materials:
    • Use cloth mask that has more than one layer of fabric
    • Wear a disposal mask underneath a cloth mask.
  • Knot and tuck ear loops of a disposal mask to improve fit

Don’t:

  • Combine two disposable masks
  • Combine a KN95 with any other mask

 

How masks help fight COVID-19 

Many people who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the virus to others without knowing it. A face covering blocks droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, sings or breaths. If someone is not vaccinated, they’re at higher risk of getting the virus then spreading it. 

Sources:

Airborne Transmission Route of COVID-19
This 3-D Simulation Shows Why Social Distancing Is So Important
Face Masks for the General Public