Mask in Hands

Facial Coverings are now mandatory statewide

Effective June 18, 2020, the State of California now requires the use of face coverings in indoor and outdoor settings (where physical distancing is not practical) anywhere outside of private homes , according to a new state directive tied to the State’s Executive Order directing all residents to continue to obey State Public Health directives. 

State Facial Covering Order                  State Facial Covering Order-Spanish

 When must facial coverings be worn

People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:
  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space (note: public space refers to any non-private  home)
  • 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 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible. 

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

Exemptions to facial covering order

Certain people are exempt from wearing a face covering under specific circumstances, including:

  • Persons age two years or under. 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.
  • 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 or masks for both inmates and staff.

County Health Officer cloth face coverings paper

San Luis Obispo County is in the process of a phased re-opening while COVID-19 is still spreading in the community and across the nation. This circumstance presents a critical time for balancing prevention of disease spread, limiting hospitalizations, supporting economic activity, opening schools and places of worship, and regaining a partial sense of normalcy. We must maintain our community’s safety and confidence.

Follow the link below to read the new white paper released on June 24, 2020. 

Read the Full Research Paper Here

Fraduluent face covering flyers alert

The ADA has been made aware of a scam involving face mask posting and flyers.  The Department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit ADA.gov for ADA information issued by the Department.  

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?
Facial covering must be warn indoors or in line to enter any indoor public building or space that is not a private home.  Facial coverings do not need to be worn when in private homes.  When outdoors, facial coverings should be worn when people in the same household are not able to maintain a distance of six feet from each other.  
What is considered a public building or space?
Any space that is not a private residence is considered a public building or a public space.  This includes restaurants, retail shops, churches, hair and nail salons, fitness centers, museums, parks, etc. 
If I can maintain 6 ft of distance, do I need to wear a facial covering?
Yes, in most casees.  If you are waiting to enter or are in any public building or public space, you must wear a facial covering.  Facial coverings must be worn waiting for or riding on public transportation.  If you are outside recreating and can maintain at least 6 ft. of distance, you do not need to wear a facial covering.  
Do my children have to wear a facial coverings? 
Children under the age of 2 should not wear a facial covering because of the risk of suffocation.  Older children, like adults, should wear facial coverings when in public indoor locations or outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.  
Do I need to wear a facial coverings outside?
Sometimes.  Facial coverings must be worn when in outdoor public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 ft. from people who are not members of the same household is not feasible.  
Do I have to wear a facial coverings at work?

In many situations you do.

Facial coverings must be worn when 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
Do I need to wear a facial covering inside a restaurant? 

When waiting to be seated you need a facial covering. Once you are seating and eating or drinking, provided you are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from other groups, you do not need a facial covering.

Do restaurant and food service staff need to wear facial coverings?
Yes.  All food service, restaurant, breweries, wineries staff and patrons need to wear facial coverings.  Facial coverings are required while working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others.  
Can I wear a face shield rather than a facial covering?
It is unknown if face shields provide any benefit to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles. The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or 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. 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. 
Do I have to wear a facial covering while I am at the gym?
Fitness centers and gyms are considered public buildings, so facial coverings are required for patrons and employees.  Face coverings should be worn at all times in the fitness center or gym unless you are in the pool or in the shower.  If you are recreating outside and can maintain 6 ft. of distance at all times, facial coverings are not necessary.  
Do I need to wear a facial covering at church? 
Facial coverings are required at church.  You need to keep your facial covering on when at church, or any other public (non private home) building or space.  
Do I need to wear a facial covering when waiting in a line? 
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.
Are gatherings permitted, if everyone wears facial coverings?
No.  State public health directives prohibit professional, social and community gatherings. Gatherings are defined as meetings or other events that bring together persons from multiple households at the same time for a shared or group experience in a single room, space, or place such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, or other indoor or outdoor space. They pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19.
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?
If you have a health issue that makes you unable to tolerate a facial covering, you do not need to wear one under the state order. However, this may mean that your health condition also puts you at increased risk of COVID-19, so you should be extra careful.  Not wearing a mask makes practicing physical distancing and hand hygiene even more essential. You do not need to tell a business what your medical condition is.  
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? 

Let business / organization leaders worry about it.  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
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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.