Eric Garcetti demonstrates a face mask
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti demonstrates a cloth face mask. Image from video

The California Department of Public Health now recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public to provide “additional protection” against the spread of coronavirus.

The state is not requiring that people wear face coverings, and public health officials emphasize they are not a substitute for social distancing and hand washing.

“Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing or frequent hand washing, which we know are amongst the most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, the state health officer, in a statement released Wednesday

“Wearing a cloth face covering could provide some additional benefit by acting as a reminder for other people to keep their distance, and it could help reduce the spread of infectious particles from those who could be infected but don’t have symptoms,” she said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has begun advising the public to wear some kind of protective face covering when going out — even a scarf or other clothing item — to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“I know it will look surreal. We’re going to have to get used to seeing each other like this,” Garcetti said Wednesday as he put on a black cloth mask during his daily coronavirus briefing. “To be clear, you should still stay at home. This isn’t an excuse to suddenly all go out.”

Officials do not recommend Californians use N95 or surgical masks, which are needed for healthcare workers and first responders.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.