Alameda County Public Health Department has issued a new order requiring members of the public and workers to wear face coverings or masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Order is effective at 11:59 p.m. on April 17, 2020, but provides for a grace period in enforcement until 8:00 a.m. on April 22, 2020. While the purpose of the grace period is to allow people and businesses time to implement the requirements of the Order, they should comply as soon as possible within the time frame.
Face coverings can be made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. Medical-grade masks are not required.
Members of the public must wear a mask when:
- working at an essential business (including employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers)
- visiting or waiting in line to enter an essential business, such as a grocery store
- visiting a healthcare provider or facility
- waiting in line for, operating, or using public transportation
Workers engaged in Minimum Basic Operations, Essential Infrastructure work, and Essential Government Functions are to wear a face covering in areas where the public is present or likely to be present and at any time when others are nearby. A mask is not required when a person is in a personal office and others do not regularly visit the room.
Businesses must also take reasonable measures, such as posting signs, to remind visitors about wearing a mask, and not serve customers who do not observe the Order.
The Order does not require that any child aged twelve years or younger wear a face covering and recommends that any child aged two years or younger should not wear one because of the risk of suffocation.
The Order also does not apply to:
- people who are in their own cars alone or with members of their own household
- people engaged in outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, bicycling or running (though they should keep a face covering with them and continue to practice social distancing).
A face covering is also not required to be worn by a particular individual if the person can show either: (1) a medical professional has advised that wearing a face covering may pose a risk to the person wearing the mask for health-related reasons; or (2) 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. A face covering should also not be used by anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.