Wearing masks and face coverings:
Most counties in the Bay Area are now requiring that anyone, over 12 years old, who goes out for essentials needs to wear a face covering, especially while waiting in line or inside any essential business, using public transit, riding in a taxi/Lyft/Uber or seeking healthcare, as well as anytime you come within 6 feet of someone from outside your household. The City of Berkeley’s Health Officer issued an order requiring that essential businesses such as the campus require their employees to wear a face covering at work, subject to specific exceptions. We are now requiring that our faculty and staff who are on campus wear face coverings.
The primary role of wearing a covering is to reduce the release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, including someone who has COVID-19 but feels well. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and washing hands and staying home when ill.
A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. Make sure the covering is comfortable – you don’t want to have to keep adjusting the mask, which means touching your face. Always wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer, before and after touching your face or face coverings.
Please do not buy or stock up on surgical masks or N-95s. Preserve the limited supply of medical-grade masks such as an N-95 for health care workers or first-responders, who cannot use physical distance to protect themselves, especially from people at their most symptomatic, infectious period. The City of Berkeley is collecting PPE donations through their website. All these donations will be vetted/ distributed to healthcare facilities, EMS partners, and Skilled Nursing Facilities/Long-term Care Facilities depending on need.