Facial Coverings



Californians must wear face coverings when they are outside of the home unless an exemption applies. All persons not exempted from this order must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household. Learn more about the State Guidance and limited exceptions hereCloth face coverings or masks help reduce the spread of coronavirus especially when combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing. 

 This order mandates that face coverings be worn state-wide in the circumstances and with the exceptions outlined below. It does not substitute for existing guidance about social distancing and hand-washing. 

Effective November 25, 2020 the Santa Barbara County Health Officer issued an update to the face coverings order, Health Officer Order No.  2020-10.5which requires individuals in the County of Santa Barbara to wear face coverings when in situations that may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. 


Per Health Officer Order 2020-10.6 and California State Mandated Guidance 

People in Santa Barbara County shall wear face coverings when they are outside of the home unless an exemption applies. 


People are exempt from wearing a face covering under specific circumstances, including: 

  • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household. 
  • Persons who are working in an office or in a room alone. 
  • Persons who are actively eating or drinking Provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence. 
  • Persons who are outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing from others not in their household. Such persons must have a face covering with them at all times and must put it on if they are within 6 feet of others who are not in their household. 
  • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service. 
  • Workers who are required to wear respirator protection. 

Certain people are exempt from wearing a face covering at all times, including: 

  • Persons younger than two years old. These young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation. 
  • Persons with a medical condition mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. Such conditions are rare. 
  • Persons who are hearing impaired or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication. 
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work as determined b local state or federal regulators or work lace safety guidelines. 
  • Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge as Iong as their condition permits it. 

Face coverings with one-way valvepermit respiratory droplets to easily escape which places others at risk. Face coverings with One-way valves should not be used or should be taped up inside and out to prevent droplets from escaping through the valve. 


The Department of Justice (DOJ) is aware of scams involving face mask posting and flyers.  The Department urges the public not to rely on the information contained in these postings and to visit ADA.gov for ADA information issued by the Department. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Face Coverings