Mask in Hands

 

Facial coverings are mandatory statewide

Effective June 18, 2020, the State of California requires the use of face coverings anywhere outside of private homes.  On November 16, 2020 an update was issued and masks now must be worn anytime you are outside of your home.

When must facial coverings be worn:

 People in California must wear face coverings when they are outside of the home. 
 Exemptions are listed below.        

You are exempt from wearing a mask in the following situations:

  • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household.

  • Persons who are working in an office or in a room alone.
  • Persons who are actively 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 outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing from others not in their household.  Such persons must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household.
  • 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.
  • Workers who are required to wear respiratory protection.
  • 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 specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.

These individuals are exempt from wearing a mask in all settings:

  • Persons younger than two years old. These very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition*, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Such conditions are rare.
  • 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.

*Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

 Printable Facial Covering Signage-English  Printable Facial Covering Signage-Spanish

 

Frequently asked questions about facial covering order

How does wearing a facial covering help?
There is strong scientific evidence that the use of face coverings helps reduce disease transmission of COVID-19. The primary role of a facial covering is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions.
Is the state facial covering order just guidance?
No, it is a state order which means it is required to be followed and not just recommended.  All guidance documents released by the state of California related to COVID-19 are under the umbrella of the statewide Stay at Home order and must be followed by all businesses and residents.
Do I have to wear a facial covering at all times?
Yes, facial coverings must be worn at all times while outside of your home unless you are in one of the exempt settings listed above above. 
If I can maintain 6 ft of distance, do I need to wear a facial covering?
Yes, in most cases.  If you are outside recreating and can maintain at least 6 ft. of distance, you do not need to wear a facial covering. In this case, you must have a face covering with you and put it on if you are within 6 ft. of someone outside of your household.   
Do my children have to wear a facial coverings? 
Children older than 2 years do need to wear facial covering. Children under the age of 2 should not wear a facial covering because of the risk of suffocation.  
Do I need to wear a facial covering outside?
Sometimes.  Facial coverings must be worn when in outdoor public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 ft. from people is not feasible.  In these situations, you must have a facial covering with you and put it on if 6ft. of distance cannot be maintained.  
Do I have to wear a facial coverings at work?

Yes, unless:

  • You work in a room or office alone.
  • You are required to wear respiratory protection.
  • 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.
Do I need to wear a facial covering inside a restaurant? 

Yes until you are seated and actively eating or drinking provided that you are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household.

Do restaurant and food service staff need to wear facial coverings?
Yes.  
Can I wear a face shield rather than a facial covering?

No, face shields are not a substitute for a facial covering. 

The CDC does not recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks. Some people may choose to use a face shield in addition to a facial covering when sustained close contact with other people is expected. Face shields offer additional protection for the wearer's face and eyes. If face shields are used without a mask, the shield should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are NOT recommended.

Face shield handout

Do I have to wear a facial covering while I am at the gym?
Yes. Facial coverings are required while at the gym.  Facial coverings are not required while you are in the pool.
Do I need to wear a facial covering at church? 
Yes.  Facial coverings are required at church.   
Do I need to wear a facial covering when waiting in a line? 
Yes.  Facial coverings are required when waiting in a line, whether indoors or outdoors.
Are masks with exhalation valves safe for health care and dental workers? 
No, the County Health Officer does not recommend masks with exhalation valves.
Can a business refuse entrance to someone not wearing a facial covering?
Yes, a business can refuse entrance to someone not wearing a facial covering.  If a patron refuses to wear a mask and refuses to leave, law enforcement can be called. 
Will businesses be fined if they don't enforce the face covering requirements?

Failure to comply with the order can result in an administrative fine or temporary restraining order. 

If complaints are received about business not requiring employees or customers to wear facial coverings, the first step will be a discussion with the business owner or manager to ensure they understand the state order. If the issue continues, citations or a temporary restraining order can be issued.  

As a business owner, what can I do if someone comes in refusing to wear a facial covering?
Businesses / organizations should place signs at the front of their space noting that facial coverings are required.  If someone refuses to wear a facial covering for a non-medical reason or behaves towards you in an aggressive manner, you can contact your local police department for assistance.  Ensure your employees are setting a good example by always wearing facial coverings as required.
What if I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a facial covering?

Persons with a medical condition* that prevents them from wearing a face covering are exempt. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Such conditions are rare.

*Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

As an employer, can I required employees with a medical exemption to wear a facial covering?

Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others, must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

Note* Persons with a medical condition exemption are those where the facial covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Such conditions are rare.

If I see large crowds or businesses with employees or large numbers of customers not wearing facial coverings, is there someone I should notify? 

Yes.  The County of San Luis Obispo has an Enforcement Line for residents to report violations of the COVID related orders meant to limit the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in SLO County, including the facial covering order.

Enforcement Line (805) 788-2222
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

You can also report violations by email  

What should I do if I see an individual in setting where facial coverings are required not wearing one? 

Do your best to maintain physical distance from the person.  If there are large numbers of people or employees not wearing masks, you can contact the COVID Enforcement Line:

Enforcement Line (805) 788-2222
You can also report violations by email  

Where can I get a facial covering?
Many brick and mortar and online retailers sell facial coverings.  You can also purchase or make homemade facial coverings. The CDC has plans for making your own.  
Where can I get more information on the facial covering order?
If you have questions about the facial covering order, please contact our Phone Assistance Center at 805-543-2444.