SAN FRANCISCO—On July 24, the Department of Public Health expanded face covering requirements in the city and county of San Francisco. The updates address a surge in recent COVID-19 cases and aligns with the city guidelines put forth by the California Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new rule “require[s] 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.”

Face coverings are also mandatory in more “fluid” environments where social distancing cannot be monitored such on sidewalks, public transit, and parks. This requirement extends to when citizens are 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.” The exception is when one is alone in “completely enclosed spaces” such as a private office.

This rule will not apply to children under the age of 2 due to the risk of suffocation. Children between the ages of 2-9, though encouraged, are not required.

“Wearing a face covering is more important now than ever,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax in a recent press release. “Substantial scientific evidence shows that when combined with physical distancing and other health and safety practices like hand washing and regular disinfection of surfaces, face coverings significantly reduce the chance of COVID-19 spreading in the community.”

The expanded rules will remain in effect until suspended by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.