Sonoma County Health Officer Issues Health Order Requiring Facial Coverings

Posted on April 13, 2020

Health Order Requiring Face Covering

Health Order Requiring Face CoveringThe Sonoma County Health Officer has issued a new Health Order requiring that everyone wear facial coverings to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) locally. Read the complete order and find FAQ’s on

The Order states people must wear a facial covering before they enter:

  • an indoor facility (except their home);
  • any enclosed space;
  • an outdoor space where they cannot keep a distance of six feet away from others at all times.

This Order applies to employers who continue to operate, under the March 31, 2020, Extending Shelter in Place Order. Employers who require their employees to leave their residence to work or provide a service must make sure that their employees comply with this Order with the following:

  • supplying employees with facial coverings, or
  • making sure that employees have access to facial coverings, or
  • that their employees are using their own facial coverings.

Facial coverings means any fabric or cloth that covers the mouth and nose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these guidelines for face coverings:

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • is secured with ties or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction
  • is able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape

People do not need to buy facial coverings and can be made using household items. Some examples include scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, towels, turtlenecks, or other fabric), can be made or sewn by hand. The CDC webpage includes detailed instructions on how to create various types of face coverings using items from home.


This Order does not apply when a person is driving alone or with members of their households unless the windows in the vehicle are lowered to interact with first responders, food service workers, or other persons who are not members of their households.

Facial coverings should not be placed on children under age 2 or on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

We ask that the public do not buy medical-grade masks. These are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders coming into contact with infected persons.


Facial coverings are meant to protect the public from the user in case the user is infected and not yet showing symptoms. Facial covering are not a substitute for social distancing or keeping a distance of six feet from another person while in public. The user should limit touching their face or their facial coverings, and should wash their hands before applying their facial covering, shortly after touching their facial coverings and after removing their facial covering.

The Health Order is more than a recommendation or guidance. Individuals who do not comply with the order may be charged with a misdemeanor, a fine or both. The County of Sonoma appreciates the community’s cooperation in helping flatten the curve and reduce the number of COVID-19 infections.

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