Requiring members of the public to wear Facial Coverings
Date of Order: April 13, 2020
Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120275, et seq.)
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS 101040, 101085, AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF SONOMA (“HEALTH OFFICER”) ORDERS:
- This Order shall become effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 and will continue to be in effect until it is rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Health Officer or the State Health Officer.
- California is in a State of Emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a substantial danger to the health of the public within the County of Sonoma (“County”). COVID-19 can easily spread between persons who are in close contact with one another. This Order is based on scientific evidence and best practices as currently known from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of California, and the Sonoma County Health Officer. This Order is intended to protect vulnerable members of the public from avoidable risk of serious illness or death resulting from exposure to COVID-19.
- The age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population of the County places it at risk for serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19. Persons have been shown to be infectious up to 48 hours before onset of symptoms, and as many as 50% of infections seem to occur from asymptomatic persons. All persons who contract COVID-19, regardless of their level of symptoms (none, mild, or severe), may place other vulnerable members of the public at significant risk. Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19 and no specific treatment.
- COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of others who are nearby, or can be inhaled into their lungs. COVID19 has been shown to attach to surfaces for days and remain viable in the air for up to three hours after the infected person has left. When properly worn by the user, these facial coverings have the potential to slow the spread of the virus by limiting the spread of these droplets. Even a small reduction in community transmission could make a major difference to the demand on healthcare system.
- This Order also is issued in light of the existence of 147 cases of COVID-19 in the County as well as two fatalities, as of April 13, 2020.
- The Health Officer has determined that this Order, and its prior Orders, were and are necessary because cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed throughout Sonoma County. COVID-19 is highly contagious and has a propensity to spread in various ways including, but not limited to, by attaching to surfaces or remaining in the air, resulting in physical damage and/or physical loss.
- This Order is issued in accordance with, and incorporates by reference, the Health Officer Order (C19-05) Extending the Shelter in Place Order issued on March 31, 2020; the California Department of Public Health Face Covering Guidance issued on April 1, 2020; the Sonoma County Department of Health: Health Officer Guidance on Face Coverings for General Public in All Age Groups issued on April 5, 2020, the Health Officer Guidance on Surgical Masking for Healthcare Workers and First Responders issued on April 6, 2020.
- All persons shall wear facial coverings before they enter any indoor facility besides their residence, any enclosed open space, or while outdoors when the person is unable to maintain a six-foot distance from another person at all times.
- This Order does not apply when the person is driving alone or with members of their households, unless the windows in the vehicle are lowered to interact with first responders, food service workers, or other persons who are not members of their households. Persons should refrain from purchasing medical-grade masks, such as surgical masks and N95 respirators; those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders coming into contact with infected persons.
- 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:
- Facial coverings should not be placed on children under age 2 or on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- Facial coverings are meant to protect the public from the user in case the user is infected and not yet displaying symptoms. Facial covering are not a substitute for social distancing.
- The user should limit touching their face or their facial coverings, and should wash their hands before applying their facial covering, shortly after touching their facial coverings and after removing their facial covering.
- Facial coverings should be frequently washed or sanitized for the health and safety of the user and others. Single-use facial coverings must be properly discarded into trash receptacles.
- Employers who continue to operate, pursuant to the Health Officer Order (C19-05) Extending the Shelter in Place Order issued on March 31, 2020, and who require their employees to leave their residence to work or provide a service shall ensure that their employees comply with this Order while on duty by either (1) supplying employees with facial coverings, or (2) ensuring that employees have access to facial coverings, or (3) ensuring that their employees are using their own facial coverings.
- A governmental entity, business owner, or operator may, to the extent authorized by law, refuse admission or service to any customer or visitor who fails to wear facial coverings.
- Business includes any for-profit, non-profit, or educational entity, whether a corporate entity, organization, partnership or sole proprietorship, and regardless of the nature of the service, the function it performs, or its corporate or entity structure.
- Pursuant to Government Code sections 26602 and 41601 and Health and Safety Code section 101029, the Health Officer requests that the Sheriff and all chiefs of police in the County ensure compliance with and enforce this Order. The violation of any provision of this Order constitutes a threat and menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
- Copies of this Order shall promptly be: (1) made available at the County Administration Center at 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa CA 95403; (2) posted on the County Public Health Department website (https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Health/Public-Health/) and (https://socoemergency.org/); and (3) provided to any member of the public requesting a copy of this Order.
- If any provision of this Order to the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid, the reminder of the Order, including the application of such part or provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect. The provisions of this Order are severable.
IT IS SO ORDERED:
Dr. Sundari R. Mase, MD, MPH
Health Officer, County of Sonoma
Frequently Asked Questions
List of FAQs
All persons shall wear facial coverings in the following situations:
- Before they enter any indoor facility besides their residence. Examples: grocery stores, laundromats/drycleaners, work facilities, post office, etc.
- In any enclosed open space. Examples: outdoor work sites, construction sites, taxis/rideshares, or buses.
- When outdoors if the person is unable to maintain a six-foot distance from another person at all times. Examples: Farmer’s market, pumping gas, drive thru/delivery/carry out/curbside pickup, etc.
Remember: Everyone should continue to remain home except for essential activities and use social and physical distancing of six feet when outside of their homes.
- When worn by someone with COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms, face coverings may reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.
- Since not everyone with COVID-19 knows that they are sick, wearing a face covering helps make sure that you are not unknowingly affecting others.
- If worn by everyone when outside the home doing essential activities, this can help slow the overall spread of the virus and keep our community safer.
- A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth, such as a bandana, a scarf, neck gaiter, or a homemade cover.
- When used, cloth face coverings or homemade masks should be:
- Worn only by one person.
- Cover the mouth and nose completely.
- Include multiple layers of fabric.
- Fitted carefully to prevent frequent adjustment. Remember to practice strict hand washing before and after touching and adjusting the face covering.
- Washed frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing during the day, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
- Discarded if it no longer covers the nose and mouth, if it is stretched out or damaged and cannot stay on the face or has holes/tears in the fabric.
- No. The facial covering can be made using common household items, can be sewn by hand, or could be as simple as a bandana, scarf or cloth napkin.
- It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower part of the face.
- Homemade face coverings can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, denim, silk, or linen.
- Video: How To Make A Bandana Face Mask
- Visit the CDC Website Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
- If you already have medical-grade masks, you may use them. Do not purchase additional supplies. Please follow the guidelines for safe use, re-use and disposal.
- The Health Officer urges the public to preserve the limited supply of critical medical equipment, such as surgical and N95 masks, for healthcare workers who are at higher risk of contact with COVID-19 patients.
- Children under the age of 2
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious
- Anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Children over the age of 2 should wear a face covering. Please do not place a face covering on children under the age of 2.
- At home.
- Going for a run or walk in your neighborhood.
- If you are an essential worker and have a work space with doors that allows you to isolate while at work, you may remove your face covering while in your work space (it is recommended that you wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant prior to and after working in the area, especially if it is shared space). If you are an essential worker and work around other employees in cubicles, common areas and other open work spaces, you must wear a face covering at all times.
- When you leave your home, bring a mask with you to wear in case you encounter other people and cannot maintain a six foot distance at all times.
Are business owners required to prevent anyone without the proper face mask or face covering to go in to their place of business?
A governmental entity, business owner, or operator may, to the extent authorized by law, refuse admission or service to any customer or visitor who fails to wear facial coverings. A violation of the Health Officer’s order is enforceable by law enforcement. You may report a suspected violation of the Health Officer’s order to your local law enforcement agency.
A business owner or operator should consult with an attorney about what are their rights to refuse admission or service. The health order does not expand existing law regarding refusing admission or service.
The County is not able to give legal advice to businesses on what are their rights to refuse admission or service.
In addition to the hotline, the CDC and governor’s website have a website dedicated to answering questions for businesses and employers about the coronavirus, which citizens may find helpful.