- when interacting with the public
- in any space visited by the public
- anywhere food is prepared
- in common areas
- in any room where other people are present
Drivers of public transit, ride share or taxis must wear a mask the entire time they are in the vehicle, regardless of whether or not passengers are present.
You don’t need to cover your face when home alone or when around people you live with.
Very few are exempt
There are some very specific people who do not have to wear a face covering:
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
- Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering.
- Any worker to the extent wearing a face covering creates a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines.
Face coverings are optional for children 3-12 years old.
Children 2 years or younger should not wear masks, as they may create a risk of suffocation.
Parents and caregivers must supervise use of face coverings by children to avoid misuse.
You’re not required wear a mask while exercising outdoors, but you should carry one with you and put it on when it is not possible to stay 6 feet apart from others.
When exercising, take extra precautions to stay away from others around you, such as crossing the street to avoid sidewalks with pedestrians.
Running and bicycling causes people to expel airborne particles more forcefully, which makes the usual minimum 6 feet distance less adequate.
Selecting and caring for your mask
Your mask should be made from cloth, fabric, or other soft material, and cover the lower part of your face only, including your nose and mouth.
Don’t use surgical masks or N-95s – medical grade masks are needed for health care workers and first responders.
Simple do-it-yourself face coverings are fine. You can improvise a face covering using a scarf, bandana, neck gaiter, t-shirt, or towel. The CDC has created tutorials on how to make a mask at home:
Your mask should be comfortable and allow you to breathe normally through your nose. Make sure it fits well – you should avoid touching your face or adjusting your mask once you’ve put it on.
Wash face coverings after each use.
Efforts to slow the spread are working
As of today, Berkeley residents have been under a stay home order for one month. I’m grateful to everyone making sacrifices to protect our community. I know how hard it is to see our daily lives disrupted, to not be able to enjoy favorite activities, and to be separated from friends and family.
Data shows that our collective action is working. We are slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the Bay Area. We need to take extra steps to protect ourselves and especially our essential workers who risk exposure day in and day out.
The formula for keeping our community safe is simple.
- Stay home.
- Cover your face.
- Wash your hands.
- Keep your distance.
Thank you to all who have been, and continue to practice these measures.
Lisa B. Hernandez, MD, MPH