New San Mateo County health order requires face coverings in certain settings

New San Mateo County health order requires face coverings in certain settings

in Community/Featured/Headline

San Mateo County’s health officer today issued a new order requiring members of the public and essential workers to wear face coverings for a range of activities until further notice.

The order, which can be read in full here, will take effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, but will not be enforced until 8 a.m. on April 22.

Per the order, public members are required to wear face coverings while…

  • waiting in line or entering essential businesses such as grocery stores and laundromats.
  • in hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, and facilities providing veterinary care.
  • waiting for or riding on public transportation, including ride shares, Caltrain, and BART.
  • driving or operating public transportation, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle.

Wearing a face covering is recommended, but not required, for outdoor recreation such as walking, bicycling or running. But social distancing is required and health officials say runners and cyclists should avoid being directly in front of or behind another runner or cyclist who is not in the same household.

For essential businesses, face coverings are required while…

  • interacting with others in the public or in any public space like the reception area, restroom or service counter
  • food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution
  • working in or walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities, and in any room or enclosed area when other people, including co-workers, are present (except for members of the person’s own household or residence).

A face covering is not required in a personal office when they’re alone or with another member of their household. The health order does not require children 12 and under to wear a face covering. Children 2 years or less must not wear a face covering at any time because of the risk of suffocation.

“For example, construction workers, plumbers, bank managers, and bike repair persons are not required to wear a face covering if they work alone and in a space not regularly visited by the public, but they must put on a face covering when coworkers are nearby, when serving clients and customers, and in spaces where members of the public or other coworkers are regularly present,” according to the County.

Violations of the order “constitutes an imminent threat and immediate menace to public health” and “a public nuisance” and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both, the County said.

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