San Francisco residents required to wear face coverings at essential businesses

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A man wearing a face mask walks across the street in San Francisco.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new health order Friday requiring city residents and workers to wear face coverings at essential businesses and on public transportation. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, but will not be enforced until April 22.

Transportation workers and other essential employees who interact with the public must also wear face coverings. Businesses are also required to take “reasonable steps” to bar entry and refuse service to those not wearing face coverings.

The new rule is supposed to help the city prepare for a future lifting of its current shelter-in-place policy and reduce transmission of the virus, according to the order.

“As we look to a time where we can begin to ease the Stay Home Order, we know that face coverings will be part of that future – and we want San Franciscans to become more comfortable with this new normal,” Breed said in a statement. “We know it will take some time to get used to, but it will help save lives.”

Face coverings are not required to be worn at home, in cars or while exercising outdoors. Children ages 3 to 12 are not required to wear a mask by the order, and children age 2 and under should not wear a face covering, which could increase the risk of suffocation.

San Francisco currently has 1,058 positive cases of the coronavirus, according to the latest data from the city’s Department of Public Health. 

Other areas near San Francisco are also mandating the wearing of masks. Marin County issued an order Friday requiring facial coverings to be worn in indoor public settings where individuals come into contact with people not from their household. That order also goes into effect April 22. 

“Marin County and other counties in the Bay Area will be moving forward with an order requiring facial covering in certain settings,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County public health officer, said in a video statement Thursday. 

Willis said the facial coverings required by the order do not have to be surgical or N95 masks. 

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