Face Coverings

Face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are recommended or required in certain settings. 

Masks Recommended

Effective March 1, 2022: The County follows California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance that strongly recommends everyone wear a face covering in indoor public settings, whether you have been vaccinated or not.

Effective April 20, 2022: In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) announcement that its order requiring masking on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect, effective immediately California's requirement for masking on public transit and in transportation hubs is terminated. The County is also following CDPH Guidance that strongly recommends individuals in these settings continue to wear a mask to protect our most vulnerable and those communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Such settings are often crowded with limited and inadequate ventilation.

Additionally, masks are strongly recommended for all persons, regardless of vaccine status:

  • In indoor public settings and businesses (e.g., retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public);
  • On public transit (e.g., airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares); and
  • In transportation hubs (e.g., airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation).

Masks Required

The County is maintaining the masking requirements in specified high-risk settings, consistent with CDPH and CDC recommendations. Face coverings are required for everyone in these settings, whether you have been vaccinated or not. 

  • Healthcare settings, including long-term care settings and adult and senior care facilities (applies to all healthcare settings, including those that are not covered by the State Health Officer Order issued on July 26, 2021).*
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers.
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers.

No person can be prevented from wearing a face covering 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 face coverings at all times: 

  • People younger than two years old. Children less than two years of age must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation. 
  • People with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.
  • 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. When choosing a face covering, 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 face covering works the best it can.

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

Face Covering Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

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

Don’t:

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

 

See infographics

How Masks Help Fight COVID-19

Masks, especially those that offer the best fit and filtration (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s), remain a critical component of our multi-layered approach for protection against COVID-19 infection. [1]  It has been shown that consistently wearing a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings reduces the risk of acquiring COVID-19. [2]  Masks also remain a critical component for protecting those that are most vulnerable in our communities, including the unvaccinated, the immunocompromised, or those at risk for severe disease and illness.

It is recommended that businesses and venue operators, including K-12 school and childcare settings, allow any individual to continue to wear a mask if they desire to.

 Source:

  1. Mask-wearing and control of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the USA: a cross-sectional study - PubMed (nih.gov)
  2. Effectiveness of Face Mask or Respirator Use in Indoor Public Settings for Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infection — California, February–December 2021 | MMWR (cdc.gov)

*In certain healthcare situations or settings, surgical masks (or higher filtration masks) are required. See State Health Officer Order, issued on July 26, 2021, for a full list of high-risk congregate and other specifically enumerated healthcare settings where surgical masks are required for unvaccinated workers. The Order also includes recommendations for respirator use for unvaccinated workers in healthcare and long-term care facilities in situations or settings not covered by Cal/OSHA ETS or ATD.