Mask Requirements

Wearing a mask is required statewide to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask or cloth face covering over your nose and mouth when outside your home can slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the release of virus into the air. Wearing a mask shows that you care about the health of others and want to stay safe and save lives.

A mask is only effective if it covers both your nose and mouth. Read the official mask guidance from the California Department of Public Health. (Lee las reglas de la máscara en español.)

Is wearing a mask the law?

Yes, the August 31st, 2020 San Joaquin County Emergency Health Order requires that any individual outside of their home or place of residence for any of the allowed purposes must wear a face-covering when indoors (except inside individual’s own home or residence) or when social distance cannot be maintained.

Who needs a mask?
  • Anyone going outside their home
  • Workers in customer-facing industries
  • Workers in offices, factories, or any group setting
  • Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals
  • Other workers, if required by the applicable industry guidance
Who should not wear a mask?
  • Children under 2 years old
  • Anyone with trouble breathing
  • Anyone unable to remove the mask without help
  • Anyone with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that does not allow them to wear a mask

See a complete list of who should not wear a mask.

When should you wear a mask?

You should wear a mask or face covering when you are around someone you do not live with, including:

  • Inside any public space
  • Outdoors, if you can’t stay 6 feet away from others
  • When waiting in line
  • When getting health care
  • On public transportation or when ride-sharing
  • At work, when near others or moving through common areas
When can you take off your mask?

There are times when it is okay to take your mask off when you are away from home, such as:

  • When eating or drinking
  • If a hearing-impaired person needs to read your lips
  • If wearing a face covering imposes a risk to you at work – for example, if it could get caught in machinery
  • When you’re not sharing a common area, room or enclosed space with others
  • When you are getting an allowed service to the nose or face
  • When outdoors in public and can stay six feet from others

You should wash or replace the mask as soon as you can after these activities to reduce the risk of infection.

How to wear a mask?

Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.

  • Your mask should cover your nose and mouth, go under your chin, and fit snugly against the sides of your face
  • Be sure to wash your hands before putting on a mask
  • Do not touch the mask when wearing it

The CDC has more information about how to wear masks.

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Have questions about COVID-19 in San Joaquin County? Contact SJ 2-1-1 for more information!


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