New information about that the spread of COVID-19 by people who are not showing symptoms demonstrates the need for cloth face coverings, which, when combined with physical distancing and hand washing, may prevent the spread of the virus to others when going outside for essential activities. Cloth face coverings must cover the nose and mouth.
Face Coverings and the Order to Shelter at Home
Covering your face does not change the shelter at home order, which requires people to stay home as much as possible and maintain social/physical distancing. Sheltering in place has slowed the spread of the virus in our community, saving lives. Strictly following the order to shelter in place remains critical and is enforceable. Covering your face helps you to protect others if you might have an asymptomatic infection.
- While inside or waiting in line to enter an essential businesses, like a grocery store or pharmacy
- When seeking health care
- When waiting for or riding transit
- When entering facilities allowed to operate under the shelter at home order, like government buildings
When a Face Covering is Not Needed
Face coverings are not required to be worn when:
- At home.
- In your car alone or solely with members of your household.
- Exercising outdoors, like walking, hiking, bicycling, or running. However, people are recommended to have a face covering with them and readily accessible when exercising, even if they're not wearing it at that moment.
- Children 6 years old or younger.
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
- Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering.
- Any worker to the extent wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines.
- Generally, essential businesses are urged to ensure that their employees wear a face covering in any area where others may be present, even if there are no customers or members of the public present at the time. This is to avoid the spreading of respiratory droplets in areas where others may be exposed at some point.
- Essential businesses should inform customers about the need to wear a face covering, including posting signs at the entrance to the store or facility.
- All workers and volunteers at essential businesses, operating public transportation, or operating other types of shared transportation are encouraged to wear a face covering when at work in most settings.
- Workers doing minimum basic operations, like security or payroll, essential infrastructure work, or government functions should wear a face covering when others are nearby or when they are in areas that the public regularly visits.
If you are currently using a medical mask, keep using it as long as possible – until it becomes dirty or damaged – due to the limited supply.