Many Bay Area Counties to require face coverings in public

A number of Bay Area Counties and jurisdictions are taking another step to prevent spread of novel coronavirus: face coverings. Santa Clara County joined that list late Friday afternoon.

“We are strongly urging everyone in our community to wear face coverings,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.

While early warnings from health officials downplayed the need for masks in public, guidance changed once it became clear that individuals without symptoms were unknowingly spreading the virus.

As of Friday afternoon, Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara and Contra Costa Counties had or were implementing requirements. The City of Fremont has a requirement for essential business employees and customers.

Santa Clara County’s top health official Dr. Sara Cody has long noted that sheltering at home was the best option.

“Staying home, minimizing even essential activities, and reducing contact with others is still the most important tool,” Dr. Cody said.

Dr. Cody has also expressed concern about personal protective equipment stockpiles in the region.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city would mandate facemasks in public, as of midnight Saturday. Enforcement would begin April 22. The requirement does not apply to children under 12.

Health officials in all jurisdictions reiterated that physical distancing remains the best deterrent to COVID-19 spread. They also say that medical-grade coverings, including N-95 masks, should be left for healthcare worker use.

“One important measure we can all take, is to cover our face when we’re in situations where there could be transmission of the virus,” said Marin County’s top health official Dr. Matt Willis on Thursday night.

To read more on how to make your own face covering, and how to wear it correctly, click here.