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County Requires Facial Coverings for Essential Services

California’s public health officials recently released guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against COVID-19 for Californians who must leave their homes to conduct essential activities. On April 10, 2020 the Safer at Home Order was updated. By April 15 at midnight, all businesses will also be required to provide all their employees with cloth face coverings, which those employees will be required to wear. The updated order also requires people to wear face coverings in Bellflower (as well as all of LA County) when entering a place of business. Face covering is not a substitute for the state’s current guidance regarding social distancing and hand washing. The state also does not recommend Californians use N-95 or surgical masks, which are needed for our health care workers and first responders who will be there for when our lives at risk.

Now is the time to get back to arts-and-crafts. Make a cloth mask, then wear it when you go out in public.

What material should I use?

A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. The coronavirus is extremely tiny — too tiny to be trapped by most fabrics that still allow air to flow through them. The virus seems to be most transmissible when it is stuck to much larger water or mucus droplets that come out of our mouths and noses when we cough, sneeze or talk, and a homemade mask can block those droplets. The CDC recommends two layers of tightly woven 100 percent cotton fabric, such as quilter’s material or bedsheets with a high thread count. Masks made from pillowcases or a cotton T-shirts struck the best balance between filtration and breathability.

When should I wear a cloth face covering?

You may choose to wear a cloth face covering when you must be in public for essential activities, such as shopping at the grocery store. Wearing a cloth face covering does not eliminate the need to physically distance yourself from others. Be sure to remove your mask without touching the front and without touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

How often should I wash my cloth face covering?

It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. A washing machine with detergent should suffice in properly washing/sterilizing a face covering. Discard cloth face coverings that no longer cover the nose and mouth, have stretched out or damaged ties or straps, cannot stay on the face or have holes or tears in the fabric.

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