These guidelines, as updated are effective November 18, 2020 in Saint Louis County. In accordance with the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health’s (“DPH”) Second Amended Order Requiring Members of the Public and Employees to Wear Face Coverings, dated November 12, 2020 and effective November 17, 2020, these guidelines may be replaced or modified by DPH based on new scientific information and local information including the trajectory of influenza-like illnesses, cases of COVID-19, and any other information deemed relevant to protect public health in the county.
Substantial scientific evidence shows that one of the most effective protections to decrease the transmission of COVID-19 is to increase the use of face coverings. Activities and interactions can be resumed in the safest way possible when face coverings are combined with physical distancing and other health and safety practices like hand-washing and regular disinfection processes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) continues to study the spread of COVID-19. Its research has determined that a significant number of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
Wearing face coverings when outside the home and in any place of private or public accommodation where social distancing of at least six feet (6’) is not feasible will protect the person wearing the face covering and others they encounter, especially those most vulnerable to COVID-19 with underlying medical conditions.
Given significant increases in community transmission of COVID-19, these guidelines have been updated to require Face Coverings whenever an individual is interacting with someone outside of their own household. Gatherings in any public or private space is a high-risk activity, a frequent source of transmission, and is not encouraged. Whenever you are outside your home and around others who do not live with you, you should wear a face covering.
Generally, you must wear a face covering whenever you are around other people who are not members of your household.
You will not be allowed to go into a business or use public transportation if you are not wearing a face covering.
Anyone over the age of 5 should wear a face covering whenever they leave their home.
Anyone over the age of 5 who interacts with others outside of their own household should wear a face covering.
Children attending an educational institution in grades kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) must wear a face covering.
You must wear a face covering while working out at a gym or other fitness facility even while physically exerting yourself.
You must wear a face covering while playing or practicing a sport indoors even while physically exerting yourself.
Face coverings ARE required in all the following situations:
Face coverings are NOT required for children while attending school when they are:
Face coverings are NOT required in all the following situations:
You should still have a face covering with you at all times when you are not home. It should be visible and readily accessible when you are exercising. There might be times when you cannot avoid being around other people.
You are not required to wear a face covering at home. But if you or someone in your home is sick, you can use a face covering to reduce exposure. If you live with someone at higher risk from COVID-19, everyone in your household should take care to wear a face covering when around others, if possible.
Children under 2 years old must not wear a face covering. There is a risk of suffocation.
Children 3-5 years old may only wear a face covering while supervised by an adult. It is recommended that children between 3-5 years of age wear a face covering, but it is not required, unless the child is attending kindergarten. Supervision requirements may be different based on the age and maturity of the child.
Those with certain health conditions
If you have the following health conditions or safety concerns, you are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering:
An exemption from wearing a face covering does not mean that a business must allow you entry.
A face covering is a device, usually made of cloth, that covers the nose and mouth. It can be made from various types of cloth, fabric, or permeable material, but it should not have holes.
In certain instances when an individual cannot wear a face covering, as described below, a face shield may be worn. A face shield is not a substitute for a face covering when the individual is able to wear a face covering.
A face shield is a device, typically made of clear plastic, that protects the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth. A face shield must wrap around the sides of the face and extend below the chin.
Cloth mask-style face coverings are preferred because face shields are not as effective in providing protection to others who come into contact with the person wearing one. A face shield, however, is offered as a reasonable balance between individual health concerns and the need to protect the public.
The following do not comply with the requirement for face coverings:
The fabric should cover your nose and mouth.
Face coverings can be made of a variety of fabrics. You can use bandanas, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. The CDC has instructions for making your own covering with or without a sewing machine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html
Keep it clean
If you’re outside your home and your face covering gets wet, keep wearing it. It will still protect others.
Face coverings should be washed frequently. Ideally, wash them after each use and have a dedicated laundry bag or bin.
Clean your hands before and after touching your face or face covering.
Businesses MUST require employees who interact with the public to wear face coverings. Businesses must provide these employees with face coverings or the materials with which to make face coverings.
Employees of businesses who work alone, whether in an enclosed room or outside where 6 feet of distance can be maintained from other individuals, are not required to wear face coverings.
Businesses that are defined as public accommodations under the order must require customers and patrons to wear face coverings to protect their employees and other customers.
Businesses MUST deny entry to the facility to those customers who refuse to wear face coverings. A business, however, shall not require the individual to produce medical documentation verifying a medical condition or ask about the nature of a medical condition.
While an exemption is allowed for persons who declare a health condition that prohibits wearing a face covering, this does not mean that a business can allow entry of a person claiming the health exemption to enter their premises without any face covering. Instead the following options are recommended for the business, in the order of preference: