Recent guidance posted by the Orange County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center (OCOAEOC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends the use of face coverings to protect against COVID-19 when leaving home to conduct essential activities.  Face coverings are not a requirement.  However, the use of one may help limit the transmission of the virus, if a person with COVID-19 is asymptomatic and is unknowingly spreading the virus.  A face covering can also prevent people from touching their faces with unwashed hands.

It is important to note that a face covering is not a commercially produced “mask” such as an N-95 or surgical mask, which should be reserved for healthcare providers to treat patients during the COVID-19 emergency.  Commercially produced masks are not recommended by the OCOAEOC and CDPH for use as a face covering at this time. 

A face covering is defined as:

  • A piece of fabric such as cotton, silk or linen that covers the entire nose and mouth.
  • May be handmade using everyday items such as bandanas, scarfs, T-shirts or towels.

A face covering must not be used as a substitute for social distancing or frequent handwashing, which are the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  In addition, a face covering should not be used to allow those who are sick to travel in public.

The best defense against COVID-19 remains the same:

  • Stay at home and socially distance
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid being around sick people
  • Stay home if you are sick

Templates and instructions for making home-made face coverings can be found on the City’s COVID-19 informational website,  To speak with a City employee about this new guidance or other questions about City services and COVID-19, please call our HB Ready Call Center at (714) 536-5511. 


Link to press release PDF here