San Francisco residents will be required to wear face masks outside their homes, the city announced Friday, joining New York, Maryland and Los Angeles County, as areas of the U.S. begin to think about what life will look like when social distancing measures are relaxed.
The order goes into effect 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Individuals must wear masks on public transit as well as inside public buildings, health facilities and essential businesses such as the grocery store or pharmacy.
Businesses should refuse service to anyone who isn’t wearing a face covering and ensure their workers are wearing masks, the order says.
Residents don’t have to wear face coverings while at home, in the car or outdoors walking or running, though the city recommends bringing along a face covering anyway, even if residents aren’t wearing it at that moment.
Children under 12 are also not required to wear face masks.
City leaders urged residents to continue staying at home, saying that wearing a mask in public “is not a substitute for staying home, staying 6 feet apart and frequent handwashing.”
“By covering your face when you go pick up food or ride Muni, you are helping reduce the risk of infecting those around you. 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,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said.
The federal government and regional alliances of states around the country are preparing to reopen the country, indicating that easing stay-at-home orders may mean that wearing masks in public will become the new normal until a coronavirus vaccine is developed. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles County have already made similar orders requiring masks.
San Francisco has avoided becoming a hotspot, earning recognition by national media outlets for its early action that likely prevented a more severe outbreak. But Mayor London Breed has also been criticized for not doing enough to protect the city’s homeless population from the disease, resulting in San Francisco having what is believed to be the largest homeless shelter outbreak in the country.
Here is how to prevent face masks from fogging up your glasses.