The County of Santa Clara's Shelter-at-Home order remains in effect as some businesses and new activities are allowed to reopen with social distancing protocols and safety requirements in place. For local updates on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, visit

Face Coverings

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Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 by Wearing Face Coverings

Stay Covered Santa Clara(Updated 5/5/20) While some Bay Area communities are enforcing the use of face coverings in public during the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Santa Clara is not taking that approach at this time.

  • The City continues to support the County Public Health Officer’s urging of the community to wear face coverings when in public and practice social distancing.
  • However, the County of Santa Clara's revised Shelter-in-Place order now requires the wearing of face coverings when at a business, even if it's an outdoor business, and on public transit.
  • Per the County order, the only exceptions are for people for whom a face covering may not be safe. Among the exceptions are children, age 6 and under, and anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
  • In the workplace, the City does require face coverings for staff performing essential functions.
  • All individuals are strongly encouraged to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering, such as a bandana, scarf, towel or other piece of clothing or fabric, when leaving home.
  • Individuals do not need to wear a face covering when outdoors exercising, although they’re encouraged to have one with them.
  • Public health officials stress that face coverings do not replace the need for social distancing which calls for individuals staying at least six feet away from others who are not part of their household.
  • Read the full guidance from the County of Santa Clara’s Department of Public Health.

Stay Covered, Santa Clara

Share your selfie with us! Post your photo to social media with the hashtag #SantaClaraHasItCovered to help encourage the community to wear face coverings while doing essential activities. 

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How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the following recommendations.

Download printer friendly instructions from the CDC.

Side view of an individual wearing a cloth face covering, which conceals their mouth and nose areas and has a string looped behind the visible ear to hold the covering in place. The top of the covering is positioned just below the eyes and the bottom extends down to cover the chin. The visible side of the covering extends to cover approximately half of the individual’s cheek.

Cloth face coverings should:

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

CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

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

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

Frontal view of an individual wearing a cloth face covering. Individual is using two fingers to point to either side of the top of the nose, indicating that the covering fits well in this area.
Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?

Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.

How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?

A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.

How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?

Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

Sew and No Sew Instructions

Visit the CDC website for instructions on how to sew cloth face coverings.

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