Bay Area health officials now recommend that everyone cover their nose and mouth with simple non-hospital grade facial coverings when leaving home for essential activities such as travel to medical appointments, grocery stores, or pharmacy visits.
Simple cloth facial coverings such as bandanas, fabric masks and neck gaiters are acceptable for this purpose. Fabric covers and bandanas should be washed and re-used.
Hospital grade medical masks such as N-95 or surgical masks should be preserved for health care workers in clinical settings and first responders.
To keep surgical masks useful for as long as possible, users should:
- Fold the masks in half, with the inside of the mask protected
- Put the mask in a brown paper bag while eating, drinking and to take it home after your shift.
- Wear the mask until it’s soiled or broken.
The purpose of the recommendation is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by people who may not know they have the virus. Some people who have tested positive for the virus, have experienced minimal or mild symptoms. This recommendation is in accordance with the guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 and will help protect the public, your coworkers, and your family.
If you are a City employee who is working on site (not telecommuting), you will receive a facial covering for the type of work you are doing. Your supervisor will distribute facial coverings to you. Due to the limited supply, it is extremely important that employees given facial coverings use them for as long as possible – until they are soiled, damaged or wet.
The City has ordered over a million facial coverings for employee use.
Whether you have a facial covering or not, please do all you can to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with warm water and soap or, if soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Maintain physical distancing guidelines
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean surfaces in your home or workplace regularly
- Reduce the time you are around others outside of your home, even when practicing physical distancing
As always, if you feel sick, stay home.