SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, San Francisco is tightening the city's guidelines around face coverings.
The Department of Public Health announced the updates Friday, requiring "anyone age 10 and up to wear a face covering when approaching a distance of six feet from others, in enclosed shared workplaces, in building common areas, and when working in food service."
Additionally, those who are unable to wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition must have a written exemption from a medical professional.
Health officials reiterated the importance of wearing a face covering in public.
"Face coverings reduce the amount of aerosols that people generate and release into the air when they talk, posing a risk of infection to others. They also provide some protection to the wearer by reducing the amount of infectious droplets expelled from persons not wearing a face covering that would otherwise land on the wearer's face," they said in a statement.
"Wearing a face covering is more important now than ever," said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. "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."
San Francisco is requiring face coverings in "all fluid situations," where distances between people can change and where social distancing cannot be strictly monitored.
- Walking on a sidewalk
- Walking on any other pedestrian right-of-way
- On public transit
- While at parks, outdoor plazas, dining spaces and bars
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The city's statements also reminds residents that "to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, a face covering is required, even when alone, while working in a cubicle, areas with shared equipment, and shared offices, and also when in common areas such as conference rooms, elevators, laundry rooms, break rooms, lobbies, hallways, and bathrooms. Face coverings are also mandatory when preparing food or other items for sale or distribution. When alone in a completely enclosed space like a private office, a face covering is not required."
The updated Health Order will remain in effect indefinitely and until it is extended, rescinded, suspended or amended by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. This order aligns the City and County of San Francisco with the California Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for face coverings.
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