San Francisco officials update face-covering requirements

In this Friday, May 15, 2020 photo, Joel Johnson rides his new bicycle on a bike path at Crissy Field near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Johnson hadn't owned a bicycle since he was 15, but soon after the coronavirus pandemic led to a shelt

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.