SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Masks are now mandatory in parts of the Bay Area.
Sonoma County, Marin County, and the city of Fremont have already announced new rules enforcing the use of face coverings in public.
Other Bay Area counties are considering similar measures as the shelter in place order is set to expire on May 4.
In Sonoma County, masks became mandatory at midnight, Friday. The order requires anyone to wear a face covering before entering a facility other than their own home, or any space where you might be within 6 feet of someone else.
A man passes out face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
A person who does not comply can face a misdemeanor charge which includes a fine.
In Marin County, new rules go into effect on April 22.
Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County Public Health Officer explained the order in a YouTube video. He said, “This order will require facial coverings for public settings when we are coming into contact with people within 6 feet who we don’t live with, particularly indoors. People under the age of 6 are exempt. We don’t need to wear it if we are alone indoors, with those we live with, or out by ourselves on a walk.”
Willis said wearing a cloth covering over the nose and mouth prevents the spread of respiratory droplets, which is the main way COVID-19 is transmitted between people.
“Covering our faces is something we do to protect all of us,” said Willis, who recently recovered from COVID-19. “The decision to cover your face is a decision to support our wellbeing as a community. If we can really do this, if we can get this down, it will help eventually give us more freedom to travel and interact more within our community. Facial covering will be an important part of the new normal.”
In Fremont, new face mask rules went into effect this week.
Both employees and customers at essential businesses in Fremont must wear face masks.
Employers must also allow workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer every 30 minutes.
An employee can deny service to someone who is not wearing a face covering.
"Not to compare ourselves to any other city but what we are trying to do is to ensure we don't get hit hard,” said Fremont Mayor Lily Mei. “And some of the other surrounding cities have been so we are proactively taking this stance.”
In Santa Clara County on Friday health officials announced new guidance "strongly
urging" the public to wear non-medical face coverings when outside.
"Staying home, minimizing even essential activities, and reducing contact with others is still the most important tool. But, when we do have to go out into the public, face covering is a critical tool to reduce asymptomatic transmission."
Health officials recommend any sort of cloth face covering. This can be a bandana, scarf, t-shirt, or cotton mask made at home.
The entire Serrano family is decked out in face masks.
Paul Ryzanych sent us this face mask photo with the caption "rather be hunting."
Check this out! Nelson Carrera works out with a mandatory face mask.
Check out Kwan Malai's face covering. Kwan says she's been doing that since January. It's the only thing to keep her safe from coronavirus.
Elissa Harrington is a reporter forKTVU. Email Elissa at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @EHarringtonKTVU