Should SLO County Residents Wear Cloth Face Coverings?

Calling All Fabric Face Covering Makers, We Need You!

We are recommending face coverings in certain situations. Specifically, if people cannot maintain six feet of physical distance from others outside of the household, we recommend wearing cloth face coverings (such as bandanas or scarves, or homemade mouth and nose coverings), and only if the covering will not obstruct your ability to breathe. 

Wearing a cloth face covering may not protect you from getting COVID-19. But, if used correctly, wearing a cloth face covering may provide some additional protection. 

Here is our guidance, which is in line with CDC guidance:

  • Only health care workers and some first responders, and those who are sick should use medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks or N95 face masks. Please do not purchase these items. These critical supplies must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders and their patients, as recommended by current CDC guidance. 
  • Those who cannot maintain a safe six feet of distance from others outside of the home should wear a cloth face covering – such as a bandana or homemade cloth face covering – that does not obstruct breathing. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
  • If you wear a cloth face covering in public, avoid touching it and be sure to clean it daily. The County Public Health Department recommends that cloth face coverings be washed daily with hot water and detergent/soap. This point is very important, because it can do more harm than good if you do not keep it clean. We DO NOT want people walking around with dirty cloth face coverings.
  • Wearing face coverings should be used in addition to, not instead of, staying home except for essential activities, washing your hands, maintaining a safe six feet of physical distance as much as possible when you are outside of the home, and
  • If you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms, stay home. Call your healthcare provider or nearest urgent care to get tested, and follow their instructions. Likewise, if you have a high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 – meaning you are 65 or older and/or have other underlying health conditions – stay home. If you are sick or at a high risk of serious complications, do not go to the grocery store or pharmacy. We can deliver food and medicine to your door

We will continue to monitor the CDC and state guidance, and if their guidance changes, we will let the public know.

Facial Covering Position Statement by Dr. Borenstein: COVID-19 and the Use of Cloth Face Masks