State of California Face Covering Ordinance
Effective Thursday, June 18, 2020, the California Department of Public Health released updated PDF guidance that requires Californians to wear a face covering in high-risk settings. A growing body of scientific research has shown that people with no or few symptoms of COVID-19 can still spread the disease and that the use of face coverings, combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, will reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Californians must wear face coverings when they are in the situations listed below:
- Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
- Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
- Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
- Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
- Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
- Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
- Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
- Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
- In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person's own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
- Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
- While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering:
- Children aged two and under;
- Persons with a medical, mental health, or developmental disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
- Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
- Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
- Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
- Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence;
- Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others;
- Persons who are incarcerated. Prisons and jails, as part of their mitigation plans, will have specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings of masks for both inmates and staff.
More information about the state's COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance web page.
What Qualifies as a Mask?
The CDPH defines "face coverings" as material such as cotton, silk or linen that covers the mouth and nose. Coverings can be homemade or improvised from everyday items such as scarfs, bandanas, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. The CDPH's Face Coverings Guidance offers public health information about when to wear a cloth facemask, how to care for cloth facemasks, and other useful background information.
Where Can I Get a Mask?
Cloth facemasks are now fairly common, both in bricks-and-mortar stores and online. Remember that masks are not one-size-fits-all products; you'll need to make sure that you buy masks of appropriate sizes for all the members of your family.
Can I Make My Own Mask?
Yes, you can. Here are some things to think about if you decide to do this.
- Build a mask that tightly encloses the area around your nose and mouth, from the bridge of your nose down to your chin, and extending onto your cheeks beyond the corners of the mouth, so no gaps occur when you talk or move.
- Use mask material that is tightly woven but breathable. Possibly double-layer the fabric.
- Masks must use washable material, such as fabric. Choose a fabric that can handle high temperatures and bleach without shrinking or otherwise deforming.
- The mask should be tolerant of expected amounts of moisture from breathing.
- Suggested materials: outer layer tea cloth, inner layer of a microfleece to wick away moisture, and an inner tea cloth layer. Use an accordion fold to mimic a hospital mask as much as possible and use a fat woven shoelace-type material to bind the sides (such as quilt binding). For straps, use elastic straps that loop behind the ears.
Some examples and directions:
- Face Mask Kit, Providence St. Joseph Health