Face Masks

Los Angeles County Requirements:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Safer at Work and in the Community Health Officer Order requires all persons wear a face mask over both the nose and mouth whenever they leave their place of residence and are or can be in contact with or walking near or past others who are non-household members in both public and private places, whether indoors or outdoors.

Face masks should not be placed on young children under age 2 or anyone who is unconscious and should not be used by anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove the face mask without assistance. Those instructed not to wear a face mask by a medical provider are also exempt from wearing one. Children ages 2-8 should wear a mask only when under with adult supervision. View the full guidance for face masks from the County.

California Requirements:
The California Department of Public Health guidance mandates that a face mask is required at all times when outside of the home, with some exceptions. View the full guidance from the state.

CDC Requirements:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people. Effective February 2, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

The best community and individual defense against COVID-19 is washing our hands frequently, avoiding touching our eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolating if you are sick, practice physical distancing especially by staying home and wearing a clean face mask. Face masks are not a replacement for these evidence-based measures; they are an additional tool that may be used to protect us from exposure to COVID-19 when used properly. 

Choosing and Wearing a Face Mask: 
Face masks work best when everyone wears them consistently and correctly over their mouth and nose. Face masks protect the wearer and those around them. However, not all face masks offer the same protection.

When choosing a face mask, make sure it:

  • Has two or more layers of breathable, tightly woven material;
  • Completely covers your nose and mouth; and
  • Fits snugly against your face, including on the sides, and has no gaps.

A face mask with a nose wire can keep air from leaking out of the top of the mask, which will also help reduce fogging if you wear glasses. To improve the fit of medical procedure masks, the CDC recommends fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask (referred to as “double masking”) and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. It is not recommended to double mask with a KN95 or two disposable masks as this does not improve the fit. 

Download COVID-19 Health & Safety poster for Face Mask here.

Do not use masks that:

  • Are made of loosely woven fabrics.
  • Are made of a fabric that is hard to breathe through such as vinyl, leather or plastic.
  • Have valves, vents or holes.
  • Are NIOSH-approved N95 respirators unless you are in a setting that requires these. NIOSH-approved N95 respirators are critical supplies that are meant for healthcare workers and first responders.
  • Bandanas and scarves are not recommended (unless you wear a mask underneath).

Be sure to clean your hands after touching or removing your mask. As a reminder, a face mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing. They are an additional tool against COVID-19.

The Evidence for Face Masks:
Recent data indicates that covering your nose and mouth can slow the spread of COVID-19 because:

Videos on Face Masks: