Face Coverings Now Mandatory When Entering Public Space Throughout San Diego County

May 1, 2020

All San Diego County residents will be required to wear face coverings when leaving home and entering public starting today.

On April 24, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced a new mandate to be added to the public health order that would require anyone to wear a facial covering when coming within six-feet of a non-household member. The county has stated that medical-grade masks should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance. and the public should use cloth masks, bandanas, scarves or neck gaiters. San Diego County had already required employees of most essential businesses (retail stores, gas stations, restaurants, pharmacies) to wear facial coverings and strongly encouraged citizens to as well since early April. Businesses are permitted to deny entry to anyone not wearing a face covering. County officials have stated anyone not in compliance with the facial covering public health orders could face penalties of up to a $1,000 fine or 6 months in jail.

"We believe this is going to be a part of life in the new normal," Fletcher stated on April 24. "Until such time as we have a vaccine or a widely available therapeutic drug, there are going to be parts of life that are going to change. And getting in the habit of having a face covering when you leave your house, that's going to be part of that change."

The United States Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Cloth face coverings can be easily fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost, including using T-shirt sleeves and scarves. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

"If you leave your place, cover your face," is the persisting tag-line used by San Diego County officials.

Face covering requirements of varying degrees have gone into effect in multiple states across the United States, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, as well as other California cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.  For updates, visit coronavirus-sd.com or text COSD COVID19 to 468-311. For those of you still on the fence on whether masks do anything, see below.