Milpitas city leaders this week voted to require face coverings at essential businesses to protect workers and the public from spreading the coronavirus, overriding a county recommendation, the city announced Thursday.
The City Council approved the emergency order Tuesday, and the city manager signed it Wednesday. The order takes effect at 8 a.m. Friday, the city said.
Currently, Santa Clara County guidance strongly urges face coverings in public but does not require them, making the Bay Area's largest county one of the few exceptions in the region.
Face masks or coverings are required for employees and customers at essential businesses such as groceries, health care facilities, gas stations, hardware stores and pharmacies, the Milpitas order says. Children age 6 and younger are exempt and should not wear face coverings.
The city said people should consider cloth face coverings such as scarves, bandanas or homemade masks to comply with the order. Surgical and N95 masks should be reserved for health care workers and other first responders.
Milpitas city leaders said they were compelled to issue the order because COVID-19 has a large number of asymptomatic carriers, or people who can spread the disease without showing symptoms.
The face coverings should always be used in conjunction with other preventive practices such as social distancing, sheltering at home and regular hand-washing, the city said.
Those not complying with the order will initially be warned and could face citations, the Milpitas order says.
For more information on COVID-19 and the latest county health orders, visit the Santa Clara County Public Health Department website. Milpitas community members can also find information on local COVID-19 resources at the city’s COVID-19 webpage.