Face Covering Requirements
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.
Roles of a Mask or Face Covering
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.
Concerns about Cloth Masks and Double Masking
“We are now learning that a cloth face covering may help protect you in addition to protecting those around you. The current best option for face coverings is a form-fitting, tight mask without gaps at the edges while following CDC guidelines ”.
(no clear recommendations or studies yet on double masking with cloth masks).
MMWR 2/10/21 summary:
Studies of one type of cloth mask and one type of medical procedure mask.
Cloth and medical procedure masks without modifications had similar efficacy in protecting the wearer.
HOWEVER, tighter fitting masks appear to offer more protection, and there is a way to increase the fit of the disposable masks by tying the earloops and tucking in the sides. There was also increased protection if wearing a medical procedure mask under a cloth mask.
NOT studied: double cloth masks, double medical procedure masks, wearing medical procedure mask over a cloth mask.
RECOMMENDATION: In clinical areas, continue isolation mask use as previously recommended. If able, tie earloops near the mask and tuck in sides to eliminate gap and create tighter fit.
Here are examples of the various types of masks that are being used to protect public health.