Do I have to cover my face when I leave home and interact with others?

Yes. You are required to wear a mask when you are outside of your home.

Wearing a face covering will help to contain your respiratory droplets. But it is not a substitute for other critical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 — most importantly, staying home, practicing safe physical distancing, washing your hands often, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. 

Face coverings were previously required to enter essential businesses like grocery stores. Now they’re required anywhere outside of your home, including: 

  • If you visit any retail business (except those in indoor malls), including those that are open only for curbside or doorside pick-up;
  • If you exercise in your neighborhood, or a trail, golf course, or beach (where you must wear a face covering if you are out of the water and people are nearby);
  • If you ride on LADOT transit buses and Metro buses and trains, or travel through LAX.

The new guidelines on face coverings exempt children under 2 years old and people with certain disabilities.

You can make your own face covering with a bandana, scarf, or piece of cloth. You can follow instructions available online from trusted sources, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You can also find links to local manufacturers selling face coverings at the L.A. Protects website. Face coverings should be washed after each use.

At this time, you should not be purchasing medical grade masks, which are in short supply. It is extremely important that these masks are reserved for those who need them most and have the highest risk of infection, including medical professionals, healthcare workers, public safety workers, and other front line workers.

You can find more information on the City’s guidance here. The L.A. County Department of Public Health and the County of Los Angeles have also information on face coverings on their websites.