Staying safe with good hygiene, masks and social distance

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COVID-19 spreads primarily between people who are in close contact with one another. Droplets from someone with COVID-19 can be transferred to others through coughing, sneezing or talking and can be picked up from contaminated surfaces. Your safest choice is to stay home and avoid contact with others.

Staying safe

Practice personal hygiene

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you don’t have soap or water, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Wash or sanitize your hands afterward.
  • If you leave your home to work, consider washing your clothes and changing your shoes after each shift.

Mask Requirements

It’s now required that everyone in California must wear a mask or face covering when outside of their home, with limited exceptions, such as driving alone or with household members, outdoors when you are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from non-household members, and some other exceptions and exemptions you can find on the Masks page on California’s COVID-19 Response website. A facial covering:

  • Can be a fabric mask, scarf, bandana, T-shirt, sweatshirt, or towel.
  • Should be multiple layers and fit snugly.
  • A face shield should not be worn alone as a substitute for a fabric covering. It may be worn in addition to a fabric face covering. See California Department of Public Health guidance on face shields
  • Can be homemade of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen.

An effective mask has both good fit and good filtration. A well-fitted mask has no gaps between the face and mask, such as above the nose or at the sides. With gaps, air that has virus particles can easily leak in or out around the sides of the mask. Good fit forces the air that you breathe out and breathe in to go through the mask and be filtered. Good filtration blocks the virus particles from going through the mask itself. You can get good filtration with the right materials and by using more layers.

“Double masking” is an effective way to improve fit and filtration. A close-fitting cloth mask can be worn on top of a surgical/disposable mask to improve the seal of the mask to the face. Layering more than two masks is not recommended as this could be difficult to breathe through. Also, it is not recommended to wear two medical masks, or to wear a medical mask on top of a KN95 or an N95.

Regardless of the mask type, it is only effective if it is worn over your mouth and nose.

Keep gatherings small

Health officials continue to recommend that large gatherings be avoided, particularly those in which social distancing cannot be maintained between people who live in different households. The more people you are surrounded by, the more exposure you have to a virus that is highly transmissible. This is especially true with the introduction of variants that spread more easily, may be more resistant to current vaccines, and could produce more adverse health outcomes. It is important to note there is a difference between ceremonies, gatherings, and going to restaurants, wineries, events, etc:  

For a full breakdown of activities and business allowed in each tier please visit the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.


Monitor Your Health

It is a good idea to get tested every two weeks, even without any symptoms, if you regularly go grocery shopping or participate in other activities in public spaces. Call your doctor and Get tested if any of the following symptoms present::

  • You have a fever over 100.4° Fahrenheit
  • You have a cough, find it hard to breathe feel tired or sore
  • It’s hard to breathe
  • You can’t smell or taste anything
  • Your throat or head hurts
  • You have a runny or stuffy nose
  • You have diarrhea, feel sick to your stomach, or throw up

Frequently Asked Questions

Facial Coverings

Indoors: Facial coverings are required when inside any building that is not your residence. Physical and social distancing should be maintained in addition to the wearing of facial coverings.

Outdoors: Facial coverings are required only when physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet cannot be maintained with persons outside of your household. It is recommended when outdoors to carry a facial covering in case physical distancing is not possible during the outing.

Yes. The state requires that you wear a facial covering when waiting in a line.

  • Children ages 2 yrs and younger
  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents them from wearing a facial covering.
  • When obtaining a service involving the nose or face, allowing temporary removal.
  • When eating or drinking provided they are able to keep at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
  • When requested to remove by business for age verification to purchase products including but not limited to: tobacco products, alcohol, & cannabis.

Facial coverings means any fabric or cloth that covers the mouth and nose. The facial covering can be made using household items (including scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, towels, turtlenecks, or other fabric), can be sewn by hand, or factory-made. Further guidance on facial coverings could be found here:

Masks with one-way valves don’t protect others, because they allow respiratory droplets out of the mask, putting others at risk. The purpose of wearing a facial covering it to protect both you and other people nearby.

Yes. A face covering must be worn while visiting an indoor business, including while exercising.

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