Face Coverings

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Information on face coverings

 
The Role of Face Coverings
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.
 
Covering your face is about helping others. By covering your face when you go out for essential reasons, you are protecting vulnerable community members.

 

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.

Face Coverings and Social Distancing
Cloth face coverings must be combined with maintaining social/physical distancing and hand washing.  Wearing a face covering does not mean that people can come in closer contact with one another as face coverings may reduce the spread of the virus, but they do not completely stop the spread.

When You Should Wear a Face Covering
Face coverings are strongly urged to be worn in public and in interaction with others, including:
  • 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.
Who Should Not Wear a Face Covering
Face coverings are not necessarily recommended for:
  • 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.
Face Covering Information for Businesses and Transportation
  • 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.
Making Your Own Face Covering
There are several options for face coverings, as long as they cover the nose and mouth. Face coverings can be made of a variety of cloth materials, such as bandanas, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.
A face covering can be made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, but it should not have holes around the nose or mouth.

Cleaning Your Face Covering
Face coverings should be washed frequently. Ideally, wash them after each use and have a dedicated laundry bag or bin. Always wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, before and after touching your face or face coverings.

The CDC also has easy instruction on how to wear and clean your face covering.

Save Masks for Health Care Workers
N-95 and surgical masks are in short supply, and need to be conserved for health workers on the frontlines. We are managing our supply levels closely and ensuring that  health workers and first responders have  medical-grade personal protective equipment that is aligned with the latest evidence-based science, and appropriate for their work duties.

 
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.