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COVID-19 Status Update for 04/16/2021

Marin County COVID-19 Status Update for April 16 includes a reduction in COVID-19 cases among LatinX residents; Monitoring local “Breakthrough” cases; An opportunity to get your COVID-19 vaccine; and updated local COVID-19 data… Read More

Face Coverings and Masks


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Why Should You Wear a Mask or Face Covering?

We all know that people who have COVID-19 or otherwise feel sick should isolate at home to protect others from becoming ill. It's also known that COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected.

COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Studies and evidence on infection control report that these droplets usually travel around 6 feet (about two arms lengths). Use of simple cloth face coverings can slow the spread of the virus by lowering the risk that an undiagnosed carrier will transmit it to others. My mask protects you, your mask protects me.

That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.

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Face Coverings In Marin Are Mandatory

On April 17, Marin Public Health issued a public health order requiring the use of face coverings when people interact with others who are not members of their household in public and private spaces. California Department of Public Health issued additional guidance on November 16, mandating face coverings be worn at all times when outside of the home, with some exceptions.  These will remain in effect until further notice.

Face coverings are required for everyone in Marin -- over 2 years old -- when around other people.  This is especially important when:

  • at indoor AND outdoor businesses – whether as an employee or a customer
  • waiting in line to enter a store
  • waiting for and using public transit
  • riding in a taxi or rideshare (e.g., Lyft, Uber)
  • seeking healthcare; or visiting a hospital, medical clinic, pharmacy, laboratory, dental office, veterinary clinic or blood bank
  • walking outside and within 6 feet of others (6 feet = about the length of a mattress)

Masks and Face Coverings - Frequently Asked Questions

Face Shields - Frequently Asked Questions

Graphic that says that "Face Coverings Are Now Mandatory For Everyone In Public Settings"


Wear your Face Covering Correctly

  • Wash your hands before putting on your face covering
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face
  • Make sure you can breathe easily

Infographic  depicting the correct way to wear a mask, which is covering the nose and mouth, wrapping around the chin, and fitting comfortably and snuggly against cheeks.


Improper Use of Face Coverings

We encourage creativity when it comes to choosing your face covering fabric. We don't encourage the creative ways of wearing these coverings, as seen below. It's critical that your face covering cover your nose and mouth and that you keep the covering on your face the entire time you're in public.

Image of five individuals not wearing masks properly


How to Make Your Own Face Covering

U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, shares ways to create your own cloth face covering in a few easy steps.

Youtube Video


Avoid Masks with Valves

Masks with a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) are designed for industrial use, such as construction or carpentry work, to protect the user from inhaling dust and certain particles encountered during sanding projects, sawing, sweeping, etc.  While these masks may protect the wearer from breathing particles, the valve also permits respiratory droplets to exit the mask, putting others nearby at risk.  Wearing a mask with a valve makes it impossible to keep with the spirit of ‘your mask protects me, my mask protects you.'

Any mask that incorporates a one-way valve is not a proper Face Covering under Marin's Facial Covering Public Health Order and is not to be used to comply with the order's requirements. 

Image shows a large X over a mask with valve


Printable Posters and Fact Sheets for Marin County:

Businesses, organizations and individuals can help enforce the mask / face covering requirement by utilizing these free, downloadable and printable PDFs. Business operators should at the entrances of a business and in employee break areas.


CDC Guidance for Face Coverings

Recent CDC studies found that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus who lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

Graphic depicting how wearing a mask blocks the majority of respiratory droplets released when speaking.
Graphic from K. A. Prather et al., Science. Credit: V. Altounian/Science

More Face Covering Resources from the CDC: