San Francisco city officials on Friday announced an update to the city's face covering requirements, per new state and federal guidelines, that now require residents to cover their nose and mouths in a variety of settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Per the updated health order issued by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, all residents age 10 and up must now keep their face covered when approaching a distance of six feet from others in enclosed shared workplaces with shared equipment, even when working alone in a cubicle.
Masks are also mandated in building common areas like elevators, break rooms, laundry rooms, lobbies, hallways and bathrooms, as well as when working in food service.
Face coverings for children under two years old are not recommended because of the risk of suffocation, however, while kids between 2 and 9 aren't required to wear coverings, they are encouraged to do so whenever possible.
Under the updated health order, those who can't wear a face covering due to a medical condition must carry a written exemption from a medical professional, city officials said.
The new rule, which went into effect at midnight and will remain in place indefinitely, aligns with the latest guidelines from the California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new mandate comes COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket in the city and throughout the state, while several counties were faced with putting off and even rolling back business reopenings.
"Wearing a face covering is more important now than ever," said Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's health director. "Substantial scientific evidence shows that when combined with physical distancing and other health and safety practices like handwashing and regular disinfection of surfaces, face coverings significantly reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading in the community."
The updated health order builds on the city's previous face covering order that required them on city sidewalks, at parks, on public transit and any other outdoor public spaces.