On November 16, 2020, in response to significant increases in the incidence rates of COVID-19 in the state, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance concerning use of face coverings. The updated guidance requires that individuals wear a face covering at all times when outside of the home unless one of the eleven (11) enumerated exemptions applies. Unlike other guidance issued by the CDPH that is advisory in nature, the guidance concerning face coverings is mandatory. The Cambria Community Services District is following the California Department of Public Health guidelines and requiring face coverings for employees not working in their own office or room. The District is also requiring that employees wear face coverings when riding with other employees in a district vehicle.
The risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection remains and will continue to be in our midst for the foreseeable next several months. Since the start of the pandemic, we have learned a lot about COVID-19 transmission, most notably that there are a large proportion of people who are infected but are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and they play an important part in community spread. The use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, sneezing, singing, exercising, shouting, or other forms of increased respiration, and they can also reinforce physical distancing by signaling the need to remain apart. In addition, increasing evidence also demonstrates a cloth face covering or mask also offers some protection to the wearer, too.
The purpose of this guidance is to provide information about when face coverings are required. It mandates that face coverings be worn state-wide at all times when outside of the home, unless one or more of the exceptions outlined below apply. It does not substitute for existing guidance about physical distancing and hand hygiene.
People in California must wear face coverings when they are outside of the home, unless one of the exemptions below applies.
Individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings in the following specific settings:
- Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household.
- Persons who are working in an office or in a room alone.
- Persons who are actively eating or drinking provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
- Persons who are outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing from others not in their household. Such persons must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household.
- Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
- Workers who are required to wear respiratory protection.
- Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:
- Persons younger than two years old. These very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
- Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Such conditions are rare.
- Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
- Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.