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New Health Order Requires Face Coverings

In order to better protect residents from infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, Marin County Public Health has issued an order requiring that everyone wear facial coverings in certain settings.

 Everyone is asked to wear a face covering when they are interacting with others who are not members of their household in public and private spaces. Specifically, the new order[External] states that people must wear face coverings when:

  •  Inside public spaces or waiting in line to enter public spaces
  •  Seeking health care
  •  Waiting for or riding on mass transit or other shared transportation
  •  In common areas of buildings, such as hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities.
  •  Workers at businesses physically open and in areas where the public is present, likely to be present, or at any time when others are nearby.
  •  Workers in any space where food is being prepared and/or packaged for sale.
  •  Drivers/operators of public transit.

 Children aged 12 years old or younger are not required to wear a face covering. In addition, individuals engaged in outdoor exercise such as walking, hiking, running, or bicycling or running are not required to wear a face covering but should carry one with them and must continue to practice physical distancing.

Employers may to the extent already authorized by law refuse admission or service to any customer or visitor who refuses to comply with this order and are encouraged to post signs at businesses entrances to remind customers of the requirement to wear face covering.

In requiring facial covering, Marin is joining other Bay Area counties that have instituted such measures to strengthen the regional shelter in place order.

“This does not change the current shelter in place order, which is in place at least until May 3,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. “But we need to make sure we can interact more safely in public before we consider any changes to the shelter in place order.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 may not have symptoms, but they can still be contagious. Many people with the COVID-19 virus have mild symptoms and do not recognize they are infected and contagious, and can unintentionally infect others. Wearing a face cover helps prevent the spread of droplets that might be infectious. Wearing a face covering, when combined with physical distancing of at least 6 feet, staying home when sick, and frequent hand washing, can help minimize the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The health order will go into effect at noon Wednesday, April 22, to allow time for the general public to procure appropriate facial coverings.

Under the order, face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth. The CDC suggests home-sewn fabric coverings, bandanas, a “DIY” mask from an old T-shirt and neck gaiters are examples of acceptable face coverings, especially because they can be washed and worn again. Due to the severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the state, residents should refrain from trying to purchasing medical-grade masks for their own use and to utilize homemade face coverings instead. 

For more information about COVID-19 in Marin County, please visit the Corornavirus in Marin website. Individuals can contact Marin HHS with nonmedical COVID-19 questions by calling 415-473-7191 weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and noon and 1-5 p.m. or by emailing COVID-19@marincounty.org.