Local business owners,
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a new public health order requiring members of the public and workers at essential businesses to wear face coverings outside the home for certain activities and in places of business, which is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The order took effect at 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 17, 2020, but will not be enforced until 8 a.m., Wednesday, April 22, 2020. It will remain in effect until it is amended or superseded by the health officer.
For businesses and workers
For businesses, the order requires employees, contractors, owners and volunteers to wear a face covering in the workplace and off-site when they are interacting in person with the public or working in any public space, like a reception area, restroom or service counter—regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time. Face coverings are also required where 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).
The order offers some points of clarity. A face covering is not required in a personal office (a single room) when others outside of that person’s household are not present as long as the public does not regularly visit the room. 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 co-workers are nearby, when serving clients and customers, and in spaces where members of the public or other co-workers are regularly present.
The order requires drivers or operators of any public transportation, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle to wear a face covering while driving regardless of whether a member of the public is present due to the need to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the vehicle at all times.
The order requires businesses to take reasonable measures to prohibit a person without a face covering from entering their place of business, which includes the posting of signs to remind all customers to wear face coverings. If you would like, a sample face covering sign for use at your business, please submit a request online.
For customers and members of the public
The order requires members of the public to wear face coverings when they are inside or in line to enter essential businesses, such as grocery stores and laundromats, when they are in hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists and facilities providing veterinary care, and when they are waiting for or riding on public transportation, including ride shares, Caltrain and BART.
The order does not require a face covering while driving alone or with members of the same family or household in a vehicle not used commercially.
With exceptions for medical conditions and workplace safety guidelines, the order notes that failure to comply with any of its provisions constitutes an imminent threat and immediate menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.
Visit San Mateo County Health's website for more information about the health order.