HOW DO I?
Published on April 28, 2020. Last modified on May 26, 2020
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Monterey County Health Officer is requiring residents to wear a face covering when going out into the public to perform essential activities, effective 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Combined with sheltering in place, social distancing, and frequent hand hygiene, facial coverings are shown to help slow transmission of COVID-19.
These changes reflect the serious nature of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and increased understanding about how the virus spreads. We now know from recent studies that people infected with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms or without ever showing symptoms.
Children and individuals with Trouble Breathing
The order does not require children 12 and younger to wear face coverings or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. Children two years old or younger must not wear them due to risk of suffocation.
The use of medical masks, such as N-95 respirators and surgical masks, are strongly discouraged for general use. Due to the global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), there is a severe shortage of PPE across the state. Those supplies should be reserved for health care workers and first responders. Monterey County Health Department asks residents to refrain from purchasing PPE for their own use and to utilize homemade face coverings instead.
Businesses must take reasonable measures, such as posting signs, to remind patrons about face coverings, and may not serve customers who do not observe the order. Workers do not need to wear face coverings if they are alone in a personal office but must put them on when others are present.
Public Transportation and Rideshare Services
The order also includes customers of public transit (including while waiting at transit stops), rideshare services, and passengers in private automobiles who are not members of the same household.
Guidelines for Face Coverings
The California Department of Public Health has these guidelines for cloth masks/face coverings:
- Face coverings can be made from cloth, be factory-made or hand-sewn, or improvised using bandannas, scarves, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.
- The material should cover the nose and mouth.
- Ideally, face coverings should be washed after each use. Dirty masks should be placed in a dedicated laundry bag or bin.
- Use detergent and hot water when washing cloth masks and dry them on a hot cycle.
- Be sure your mask is comfortable; you don’t want to have to keep adjusting the mask because that means touching your face.
- Wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, before and after touching your face or face coverings.
- If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing it, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
For guides on homemade face coverings, please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html