City Outlines Face Covering Requirements

Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a second addendum to the Stay Home Work Safe order which requires all people 10 years or older to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place where it is difficult to keep six feet away from other people, such as visiting a grocery store/pharmacy or working in areas that involve close proximity with other coworkers. Cloth face coverings could include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief. The addendum is available at this link.

“This additional step to thwart the highly contagious coronavirus is an important tool for when people must be in public, but masks are not a substitute for social distancing” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “If we continue working together, we will save lives and limit the damage being caused by this virus.”

By Monday, April 20, employers that are operating as exempted businesses must provide face coverings and training for appropriate use to employees who are working in an area or activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public.

The continued spread of COVID-19 by pre- and asymptomatic individuals is a significant concern as we look to reduce transmission in San Antonio and Bexar County. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommended cloth face coverings by the general public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It is critically important that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. The first line of defense against COVID-19 is to stay home when you can. If you need to leave your home for essential activities, then your second line of defense is a cloth face covering,” said Metro Health Director Dr. Dawn Emerick. “It is important to remember -- cloth face coverings and gloves are not a replacement for proper social distancing, frequent handwashing and self-isolation when sick.”

The public should reserve medical grade masks and N95 respirators for first responders and health care workers. The public must continue social distancing while outside their home while performing essential activities, as outlined in the Mayor’s Stay Home Work Safe Order.

Residents must keep up the following habits while in public:

  • Wash your hands before you leave home and when you return,
  • Stay at least six feet away from others
  • Avoid touching your nose or face
  • Do not use disposable masks more than three times
  • Wash reusable cloth masks regularly to prevent the spread of the virus
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before putting on your mask.
  • Make sure your face mask covers your mouth and nose. It should fit snugly, but comfortably.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, and mouth while wearing your mask.
  • When removing, avoid touching your face.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after.

Face coverings do not need to be worn in the following circumstances:

  • When exercising outside or engaging in physical activity outside
  • While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
  • When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk
  • While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment
  • While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, for example, banks
  • When consuming food or drink

Reduced maximum occupancy for certain exempt businesses:

The second addendum to the Stay Home Work Safe order also requires certain exempt businesses, such as grocery stores, warehouse stores, big-box stores, liquor stores, bodegas, gas stations and farmer’s markets to limit the number of people inside their establishments to 25 percent of the limit listed on their certificate of occupancy, by April 20. These businesses will also post the applicable occupancy on their establishments.

The second addendum follows guidance issued by the Texas Attorney General to allow the playing of golf at private golf courses, so long as no equipment rentals, caddies or other golf course personnel are involved, however, social distancing must be maintained. Private golf courses are also permitted to continue food sales consistent with Stay Home Work Safe orders issued for restaurants. Municipal golf courses will remain closed.

Bexar County has issued similar requirements.

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