City of Los Angeles - Update 4/2/20 - Guidance on Face Coverings

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March 20, 2020


Whenever there is a new step we can take to protect our communities from the spread of COVID-19, I want to make sure you know about it as soon as possible.

Los Angeles is a leader in responding to this global crisis, and that’s why I want to share the latest guidance from public health experts on how you can help protect yourself and those around you from infection. As we learn more about this virus, we will continue to update our guidance so we don’t just flatten the curve, but get ahead of it.

We are recommending that all Angelenos wear face coverings in public.

We have issued new guidance to L.A. residents on the importance of wearing face coverings in public. The California Department of Public Health has also shared public guidance on the use of face coverings.

Early data suggests that many who are infected with COVID-19 do not have symptoms, which is why everyone should wear cloth face coverings when leaving the house for essential activities. However, a face covering is not a substitute for other critical measures — most importantly, staying home as much as possible, washing hands frequently, and practicing safe physical distancing in all settings.

Tonight, Dr. Barbara Ferrer of the L.A. County Department of Public Health joined my briefing to share the science behind this decision, and how and why it works.


Please note: a face covering is not the same as a mask.

N95 and other medical-grade masks are reserved for medical workers like doctors and nurses — and using the medical masks that they need could cost someone their life.

The public should use non-medical face coverings, such as bandanas or scarves, or make your own from cloth. And they’re only effective together with personal hygiene measures like frequent hand washing, as well as safe physical distancing. Your face coverings should be washed after each use.

We know L.A. is a creative city, and I’m sure Angelenos will lead the nation in coming up with innovative ways to make face coverings. Please share great ideas on how you made your own unique face covering on social media with the hashtag #LAProtects.

The bottom line is simple: everyone should stay home as much as possible, and if you must go out for an essential errand, you should have your face covered.

Please share these updates. Every person you tell could be a life saved.

You can find more information and resources at, and make sure you’re signed up for notifications from the City of L.A. at

Thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect your family, friends, neighbors, and community from this virus.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home.



I love this city. Every decision I make comes from a place of L.A. love — with a full heart, a clear mind, and a firm commitment to keep all Angelenos healthy and safe.

That is the driving force behind the important announcement I made alongside leaders from across L.A. County, including Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek: A new “Safer at Home” order to stop all non-essential activity in the City of Los Angeles.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global emergency that is unprecedented in modern history. And public health experts tell us that staying at home is a necessary step to protect the health and safety of all Angelenos. It’s not an action we want to take. But we must. Doing so will save lives.

Here are the key parts of the “Safer at Home” order:

  • Angelenos are directed to stay in their residences and limit activity outside of their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary for essential tasks — including to secure food and health care, safety and medical necessities, as well as to care for children, older adults, and people with disabilities. 
  • Many businesses — including malls, many shops, companies, and nonprofit organizations — must stop operations that require workers to be present in-person. 
  • No public and private gatherings that would occur outside of a single home will be allowed.
There are exceptions to this order. Please see our Safer at Home FAQ for a list of the essential activities and businesses that will remain open and other important information.

This order will be effective Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. For a 24-hour period following that effective date and time, employees and business owners will be exempt to allow access to their workplaces to gather belongings, so long as social distancing requirements are followed. Such workplaces shall remain closed to the public in accordance with this order. 

The order will be in place through April 19, 2020 and is subject to extension.

These measures are designed to “flatten the curve” — or limit the rate of infection — to prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed with patients.

In this emergency, YOU are our first responder. The choices you make, and the distance you keep, will make all the difference. Nothing is more important right now.


I know that many people feel adrift and scared right now.

But even in this difficult time, there are amazing anchors of generosity all around us: the woman who posted on Nextdoor that she would pick up groceries for her older and more vulnerable neighbors, the houses of worship calling people up to say “you’re not alone,” and folks across the city giving whatever they can to the L.A. Emergency Covid-19 Crisis Fund.

These are the acts of kindness, the beacons of hope, that make me so proud to be an Angeleno.

I want to make sure you are taking care of yourself as we isolate ourselves and stay at home in Los Angeles. These can be tough days and you might be asking what you can do to relieve the stress you are feeling.

Here’s my advice: check in with loved ones — see how a parent is doing, or talk to that friend that you haven’t had a chance to catch up with in months or even years.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help: Los Angeles County Mental Health Services has a hotline that you can call at 1-800-854-7771, or if you prefer texting with someone, use the crisis text line and initiate a conversation with trained counselors by texting “home” to 741741. Let’s all take care of our physical and mental well-being together.


More about what the City is doing:

  • Plan for Homeless Angelenos: L.A. will add thousands of emergency shelter beds to help get homeless Angelenos indoors more quickly as part of comprehensive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

  • Small Business Relief: We announced an $11 million economic relief package for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

  • Emergency Operations: I have activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center to Level 1 –– the highest level –– to provide 24/7 response to the COVID-19 pandemic and activated the Disaster Service Worker program for City employees.

Here are steps you should take:

  • Know the symptoms: COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath — and may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Person-to-person spread mainly occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, like the flu. A less common form of transmission can take place from objects or surfaces that become infected.

  • Stay at home: Stay home as much as possible. Only go out if necessary. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover your cough or sneeze. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. If you have recently traveled in an area with COVID-19 infections or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, monitor your health and contact your doctor.

  • Stay informed: Please sign up for NotifyLA, our city’s emergency notification system. Stick with trusted and official sources for accurate and timely updates, including, and

Share this information with your family, friends, and colleagues, so we can all do our part to protect our community and our city.


Thank you for responding to this emergency with courage, compassion, wisdom, and resolve to overcome this crisis and help each other.

Taking these steps is an act of love — for our city, for our communities, for all of us. Thank you for helping us keep L.A. healthy and safe. 

Eric Garcetti
Your Mayor

Ami Fields-Meyer, Field Deputy
(323) 552-6730