Contra Costa requires masks

New order to take effect April 22


Spencer Batute

Contra Costa County residents are now required to wear masks starting April 22. Photo taken March 14 at FoodMaxx in Brentwood, Calif.

Katie Loughran, Features Editor

Contra Costa County is one of many Bay Area counties now requiring members of the public and workers to wear face coverings starting 8 a.m., April 22.

Contra Costa Health Services released a public health emergency order April 17, 2020 which states that “violation of or failure to comply with this order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.”

This order comes in response to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like social distancing protocall, the use of face coverings is another measure to limit the spread of the virus.

In the order, CCHS explains “one key transmission method for the COVID-19 virus is respiratory droplets that people expel when they breathe or sneeze.” 

CCHS defines face covering as a “covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face.”

The asymptomatic nature of the virus that causes COVID-19 means that while some may experience clear symptoms indicating the illness, others may become infected with no obvious symptoms. Because both parties are contagious, the latter may infect others unintentionally. 

“People can also be infected and contagious 48 hours before developing symptoms, the time when they are pre-symptomatic. Many people with the COVID-19 virus have mild symptoms and do not recognize they are infected and contagious.” 

For these reasons, “the CDC, CDPH, and CCHS now believe that wearing a face covering, when combined with physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand washing, may reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus when in public and engaged in essential activities by reducing the spread of respiratory droplets.”

Contra Costa is among other Bay Area counties, including Marin and San Mateo, to be affected by the new requirement. 

Citizens may use a scarf or bandana; a neck gaiter; a homemade covering made from a t-shirt, sweatshirt, or towel, held on with rubber bands or otherwise; or a mask, which need not be medical-grade as face coverings, according to the county order. 

Citizens are also encouraged not to purchase N95 masks and or surgical masks as they are in short supply to health care providers.

The order issued mandating face coverings will take effect April 22, 2020 and continue to be in effect until further notice.