Everything You Need to Know
CLOTH FACE COVERINGS NOW REQUIRED IN PUBLIC
Cloth face coverings and masks are now commonplace, and a symbol of our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. For your safety and the safety of others, public health officials are requiring their use in public spaces where physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be achieved, such as at grocery stores and pharmacies.
Alameda County issued a new order effective today, April 17th, requiring that cloth face coverings be worn in these settings:
While inside of or waiting in line to enter essential businesses, when seeking healthcare, and when waiting for or riding on public transportation and other types of shared transportation.
While working or volunteering at an essential business or government agency or maintaining minimum basic operations.
Face coverings are required in these settings for everyone over the age of 12, unless a health issue precludes a person from wearing one safely. This precaution needs to be taken in addition to staying home, physical distancing, and washing hands frequently.
WHY ARE FACE COVERINGS SO IMPORTANT?
According to the CDC, many COVID-19 cases could be asymptomatic, meaning that you and the people around you could spread the disease without knowing you have it. Even a simple cloth face covering is effective at trapping droplets from your coughs and sneezes to protect those around you, and a well-fitting cloth face covering could provide protection to you as well. However, the benefit of your cloth face covering will be undone if you do not also take important precautions such as staying home, physical distancing, and washing hands frequently.
SHOULD CHILDREN WEAR FACE COVERINGS?
FACE COVERINGS & OUTDOOR EXERCISE
Under the Alameda County Shelter-in-Place Order, you may exercise outdoors, as long as you maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from anyone not in your immediate household. Face coverings are not required while engaging in outdoor exercise, but they are recommended, and people should at least bring a face covering with them to wear in circumstances where it is difficult to maintain six feet of physical distance.
WHAT TYPE OF FACE COVERING SHOULD YOU WEAR?
Do not buy surgical masks to use as a face covering. Those are intended for healthcare workers and first responders. Many items you may already have in your home can be used to create face coverings. Try creating a cloth face covering using bandanas, ski masks, washable napkins, or dish towels. Your cloth face covering should:
- Reach above the nose, below the chin, and completely cover the mouth and nostrils
- Fit snugly against the sides of the face
- Be made of multiple layers of fabric that you can still breathe through
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damaging the material or shape
HOW TO MAKE A CLOTH FACE COVERING
Above, the Surgeon General provides a quick tutorial on how to make a no-sew face covering from common household items. If you prefer to sew a face covering, many tutorials are available online
HOW TO WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING
Cloth face coverings or masks are now considered necessary for your safety and the safety of others when physical distancing of six feet or more cannot be achieved, but they are only effective if worn properly. Make sure you are wearing your face covering correctly by practicing the following safety tips:
- Wash your hands before putting on or taking off a cloth face covering or mask
- Never touch the fabric part of the face covering – grab it by the ties or elastic bands
- The cloth face covering should cover your face from your chin to the bridge of your nose, and at least halfway to your ears
- Make sure the cloth face covering fits snugly by pulling the ties or loops taught
CARING FOR YOUR FACE COVERINGS
It is recommended that you have at least two cloth face coverings, so that you can launder one and use the other. Machine or hand wash your cloth face covering after each use with regular laundry detergent, and use the dryer or let it air dry.
HELP NORMALIZE FACE COVERINGS
Wearing a cloth face covering and seeing others wearing cloth face coverings in public may take getting used to, but the more everyone wears a cloth face covering, the more accepted it will become. Further, it will help us prevent the spread of COVID-19, and keep our communities safe. Please continue to treat people equally and with respect. We can promote public health by letting everyone know that we are all in this together.
Some ideas include:
- Respect others who are wearing face coverings and masks, and thank them for protecting you
- Make it a fashion statement by creating a cloth face covering that you’re proud to wear
- Post photos of yourself in a cloth face covering on social media and share with friends with the hashtag #albanytogether