Masks and Face Coverings
Masking still recommended indoors for all.
Current face mask restrictions
The City of Berkeley has aligned with the State's masking guidance as of February 16, 2022.
The California Department of Public Health guidance strongly recommends that all individuals use a mask in indoor public settings and businesses, including in K-12 schools and childcare.
The State requires that everyone 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face mask in specified high-risk settings. Review the State Guidance on Face Coverings for more details.
- Businesses, venue operators, organizations, and others responsible for the operation of their indoor public setting can require all patrons to wear face masks for all indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status.
You must allow anyone entering your facility to wear a mask if they choose to. Businesses may print and use City created signage to indicate what their masking policy is available in our Outreach Library.
Guidelines for face masks
Wearing a face covering is not just about unknowingly spreading the virus. Because of COVID-19's genetic mutations, mask also to protect yourself.
Choosing a mask
Not all masks are created equal. Learn about the different types of masks and the level of protection they provide so you step up your masking game.
Best: An N95 (preferred), KN95 or KF94 masks best protect you and others.
Better: Double mask - use a surgical cloth layered with a cloth mask
Fair: A face mask with 3 or more cloth layers. A cloth mask alone is the least effective.
No matter which mask you are wearing, the mask should always be well-fitting so it is sealed and should be worn correctly: covering the entire mouth and nose.
See the California Department of Public Health's masking page for more detail about how to mask.
What not to use
- Masks with valves: Do not use masks that have a one-way valve designed for easier breathing (the valves are often a raised plastic disk about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask). These valves allow respiratory droplets out of the mask, which puts people nearby at risk.
Keep face masks clean
Clean your hands before and after touching your face masks.
If using a cloth mask as part of your face masking strategy, wash your face mask frequently. Ideally, wash them after each use and keep them in a dedicated laundry bag or bin.
Follow CDC instructions on washing cloth face masks by machine or by hand.
Exceptions: some groups are not required to wear face coverings
Medical, safety, and disability exceptions
You do not have to wear a face mask if:
- you have been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face covering (must have documentation)
- you have trouble breathing or are not able to take off a face covering without help
- wearing a face covering would create a safety hazard at work, according to established health and safety guidelines
- you have a physical disability that prevents you from wearing a face covering
If you are deaf and use facial and mouth movements as part of communication, you can remove your mask while signing.
Children under 2 should not wear face coverings, as this creates risk of suffocation.
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