News Releases

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

County Health Officer Issues New Guidance on Face Coverings for General Public and Social Distancing Protocol for Businesses

Post Date:04/03/2020 2:50 PM

New information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the spread of COVID-19 now suggests that the widespread use of face coverings may help protect our community. Because of this, the Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan recommends that everyone who leaves their home for an essential activity wears a face covering, such as a mask, scarf, bandana, or similar garment. Most importantly, everyone should continue to remain home except for when conducting essential activities, and practice social distancing of 6 feet when outside of their homes, in addition to frequent hand washing.

Protect your Community

Ordinary face coverings have not been proven to protect the wearer. When worn by someone with COVID-19, however, they may reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.  Since not everyone with COVID-19 knows that they are sick, wearing a face covering helps make sure that you are not unknowingly affecting others.  If worn by everyone when outside the home doing essential activities, this can help slow the overall spread of the virus and keep our community safer.

Protect your Medical Providers

Use the best face covering that you can, but save purchasing new surgical masks and protective equipment for the professionals. Our healthcare providers are bravely working through this emergency to protect the rest of us. To do so, however, they need personal protective equipment, and supplies are limited. Surgical masks, unexpired N95 masks, and other essential protective equipment is not recommended for everyday use at this time, unless you already have a supply at home for personal use.

Protect your Self

Please follow all guidance on the use of face coverings below and continue to practice social distancing. Face coverings are only one small part of the overall effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should continue to stay home, except for essential activities, and take every precaution when going out, including frequent hand washing, social and physical distancing of 6 feet, and other appropriate measures.

Recommended Face Covering Usage:

General Public Participating in Essential Activities while Following Required Social Distancing: Use a cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth, such as a bandana, a scarf, neck gaiter, or a homemade cover. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. The public should continue to use physical and social distancing at any time that they leave home for an essential activity. Patterns for home-made/sewn face coverings can be found on the internet, for example:

Recommended Social Distancing Protocol for Businesses:

Essential businesses operating in Mendocino County are urged to implement a Social Distancing Protocol for each facility. This looks like:

  • Using signage at each entrance to urge all to practice social distancing, and to not enter the facility if they are sick
  • Ensuring that work stations are separated by at least 6 feet
  • Using tape to give customers points on which to stand to ensure social distancing
  • Using clear glass or plastic shields to protect public-facing employees
  • Limiting the number of individuals permitted into a facility at a time
  • Providing disinfecting wipes near shopping carts and baskets

An example of Social Distancing Protocol for Essential Businesses can be found on

The Health Officer Dr. Doohan will continue to closely follow any changes in this topic on a daily basis, and may update this guidance in response to any future state and federal public health authorities’ recommendations.

The guidance on face covering, social distancing protocol for essential businesses, the Shelter-In-Place Order and Frequently Asked Questions are available online at

For more on COVID-19:

Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email

The call center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 8 p.m.