Tough love. San Francisco to require face coverings outside. Few exceptions

The rest of the country continues to ignore the danger of the Coronavirus.

San Francisco, always the trendsetter in art, politics, technology and now Pandemic fighting, has mandated all citizens wear face covering both indoors and outdoors.

It’s the medically correct move and guarantees San Francisco will be one of the healthiest places in America.

Breaking News 4.15.2019

San Francisco Chronicle 5.29.2020

People in San Francisco must wear a face covering outside in most circumstances under a major new health order announced Thursday, as the city paves a path toward reopening.

Wearing a mask, or other face covering, is one of the top three things you can do to help us re-open more, and reopen sooner,” Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said in a statement.

Under the new order, which is scheduled to take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, face coverings are now generally required — with a few exceptions — when someone is exercising within 30 feet of another person, walking past someone else on a sidewalk or preparing food or other items for people who are not part of their household.

The rules, which extend and expand existing orders that require people to wear masks indoors at shops and other establishments, are bound to be difficult to enforce and cause tension between residents who wear coverings and those who for various reasons do not. But officials feel it’s necessary to curb the spread of the coronavirus as they loosen shelter-in-place orders and residents undertake more activities.

“As we begin to reopen, it is going to be more important than ever that people cover their faces when they are outside the home,” Mayor London Breed said. “With more people moving about, we are tempting the virus to spread, and we need to do everything we can to stop that from happening.”


Coverings are also required for anyone working at or seeking goods or services from most businesses and government agencies, as well as people involved in essential infrastructure work, most health care services and transportation, officials said. (San Francisco’s Muni transit system had already required face coverings.)

The coverings should go over a person’s nose and mouth and fit securely. During a news conference Thursday, Breed said that businesses will be allowed to turn away people who do not mask up.

The exceptions include when someone is alone in a private office; driving in a car alone or with people in their household; alone or with members of their household in an outdoor area like parks and not within six feet of anyone else; and eating or drinking if they are alone or only with members of their household without anyone else being within six feet.

Face masks I 5.29.2020.jpg

Children younger than 12 and people with documented medical exceptions or other conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering are also exempt.

Joggers or other exercisers who are not within 30 feet of other people are not required to wear a face covering, but they just have it with them in a visible place, ready for use if they get close to someone else.

City officials in early April recommended face coverings before requiring they be worn for all essential businesses and in public facilities, on transit and while doing essential work.