Face Covering Order

As of September 21st, face coverings will be required in areas open to the public in St. Francois County, with limited exceptions. Public space means a business or other facility, both public and private, both indoor and outdoors, open to and use by the public. To view the order, please see the document below.

Face coverings are just one tool in our COVID-19 prevention toolkit.

Combined with other tools like staying home, hand washing, and physical distancing, they may help slow the spread of COVID-19. Individuals should wear a face covering even if they don’t have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19. This is because of evidence that people with COVID-19 can spread the disease even before they have symptoms.

When does the Face Covering Order go into effect?

This order goes into effect on Monday, September 21, 2020.

When will the Face Covering Order expire?

The Face Covering order will be in effect through October 22, 2020 unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended.

What does this order require?

Face Coverings are now required in areas open to the public and in most places of public accommodation in St. Francois County. Public accommodation means a business or other facility, both public and private, both indoor and outdoor, open to and used by the public.

What types of places are considered places of public spaces?

Examples include, but are not limited to, retail stores including grocery stores, service establishments, schools, other educational service providers, transportation services and associated waiting areas, public and private social clubs and sporting events.

What defines a Face Covering?

Face Coverings for the purpose of this order means a device, usually made of cloth (non-fleece), which covers the nose and mouth.

Does everyone have to wear a Face Covering?

Under this order, everyone age 9 and older that is in St. Francois County will be required to wear a mask in the part of a public accommodation open to the public. There are exemptions for people who have a health condition that prevents wearing a mask. Exemptions are also made for people who are hearing impaired and people communicating with individuals who are hearing impaired. For more situations in which you should and should not wear a face mask, please refer to the questions below.

What are some examples of when to wear a Face Covering? Please note these are just a few examples and not a comprehensive list.

  • When shopping at the grocery store or other retail establishment.
  • When sitting in the stands close to others while watching a sporting event or other event.
  • When walking around spaces in public accommodations open to the public.
  • When standing in line at the store or other event.

When should I not wear a Face Covering? There are several exemptions listed in this order. Those include:

  1. Children under the age of 3;
  2. Persons with physical and mental health conditions that prohibit wearing a Face Covering. Nothing in this Order shall require the use of a Face Covering by any person for whom doing so would be contrary to their health or safety because of a medical condition;
  3. Persons who have trouble breathing, or are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the Face Covering without assistance;
  4. Persons who are hearing impaired, or someone who is communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication. Face shields would be an allowable substitution for these scenarios;
  5. Persons who are consuming food or drink while adequately distanced from others;
  6. Persons who are at a public pool while in the water;
  7. 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;
  8. Persons playing a sport;
  9. Persons exercising or using exercise equipment where participants are at least 6 feet apart.
  10. Persons outdoors when able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others;
  11. When the removal of the Face Covering is necessary to confirm identity
  12. Persons at home or in a personal vehicle.

Do I need a doctor’s note to prove I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a face covering?

No. You do not need a doctor’s note or documentation proving you have a medical condition preventing you from wearing a face covering.

Are businesses such as factories, offices, etc. that are not open to the public required to mask in any scenario?

It may depend on the activity at the facility. The intent of this order is to institute standards for the requirement to use face coverings when in a public space, with the goal to ensure people protect themselves and others, particularly those who are vulnerable to poorer outcomes related to COVID-19.  For example, in the case of a factory, the factory floor is likely not open to the public.

Since the Face Covering requirement does not apply to an area which is not open to the public, masks would not be required, per this order, on the factory floor because it is not open to the public. If the factory has a reception area open to the public, masks would be required in the reception area.

Do I need to wear a face covering in the gym or during physical activities?

If you are engaged in physical activity or in the gym and are distanced from others, you do not need to wear one. If you are not engaged in a physical activity, then one must be worn in a gym.  

Do I need to wear a face covering at a restaurant or bar?

Face coverings should be worn in restaurants and bars as you wait to be seated and while you walk to your table in the dining area. Once seated, you can remove your face covering if you are safely distanced from others. The face covering should be put on anytime you leave the table.

Do I need to wear a face covering at the public pool?

Face Coverings should not be worn while swimming. Face Coverings should be worn when around the public pool area when physically distancing from others is not possible to maintain. This may be when entering and exiting the pool facility or when visiting the locker room or restroom areas.

There is an exemption for wearing face covering during a sporting activity. Does that include coaches, umpires, or other volunteers on the field/court/etc?

Players engaged in the sporting activity are exempt from the Face Covering requirement while they are physically active in the sport. Players on the sidelines/bench/dugout, coaches, and referees/umpires, who are not engaged in a physical activity are also exempt as long as they are able to remain at least 6ft from others.

Are childcare providers required to wear a Face Covering?

Yes, childcare providers are required to wear a Face Covering. This includes in-home providers.

Do I have to wear a face covering in my own home?

A Face Covering is not necessary when in your own home and only with members of your household. If you are hosting a gathering with people from other households, it is recommended everyone wear a Face Covering in order to protect each other form possible exposure to the virus. This order does not apply to gatherings of individuals at personal residences.

How does the Face Covering order work at events such as weddings, anniversary parties, conferences, etc.

Any food and drink should be consumed at a table or in a setting that is set up to allow for physical distancing. Face Coverings must be worn during times guests are up moving around, for example, when coming in, going to the restroom, etc. Face Coverings do not need to be worn while they are seated at their table physically distanced from others.

Are churches exempt from this order?

No. Churches and places of worship are not exempt from the order. Face Coverings should be worn in these establishments except when eating/drinking, addressing the congregation, and when performing for a group as long as social distancing is maintained.

Will students and teachers be required to wear Face Coverings?

Students and staff will be required to have a mask or face covering available with them.

Face coverings/masks are required to enter schools buildings.

Students will not be required to wear a face covering/mask all day, but ARE required to have access to a mask and wear as needed or as instructed.

Students ages 9 and up should be asked to wear masks or face coverings when:

  • in passing times such as hallways and crowded common areas.
  • social distancing can’t be maintained such as working in small groups or in close proximity with a teacher or medically fragile student.
  • directed by the teacher or school leadership teams.

Masks and Face Coverings will not be worn in the following situations:

  • During recess or during physical activity such as PE.
  • During athletic activities.
  • When students/staff have a medical reason that will not allow them to wear a mask.

If I wear a Face Covering, do I still have to physically distance?

Yes. Physical distancing should always be practiced as much as possible. Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing. Face coverings act as an additional layer of protection in slowing the spread of the virus.

I am an employer. Where can I get face coverings for my employees?

Employers can order face coverings through any supplier. One option is the Missouri PPE marketplace located on the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website: https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus/ppe.php

I am a business owner/manager. How do I notify customers of this order?

All businesses and other entities that provide a public space must post the requirement that face coverings are required for entry and must continuously be worn while present in the business.

Where can I get a face covering if I do not have one?

Both reusable and cloth face Coverings can be purchased at many different locations around the county, including grocery stores, retail establishments, or online retailers. There are also many local cloth face covering makers in and around St. Francois County. If you are unable to purchase a Face Covering, there are many options to turn household items into face coverings. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html

What should I look for when buying a Face Covering?

Look for Face Coverings made with at least 2 layers of fabric. It should cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The Face Covering should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. For people who wear glasses, look for a face covering with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the covering to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

How long can I wear a disposable Face Covering?

It is best to check with the manufacturer for the reuse of disposable face coverings.

How can I wash my cloth face covering, and how often should I clean it?

Cloth Face Coverings should be washed regularly. It is important to always remove Face Coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used Face Covering. The CDC has more information on how to wash a cloth face covering: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html.

What are some tips for making cloth Face Coverings?

Bandanas, scarves, hand towels, or any item made of cotton or linen can easily be used as a Face Covering, as many have these items at home. The CDC has more information on how to make cloth Face Coverings at home. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-make-cloth-face-covering.html

How do you properly wear a face covering?

Your Face Covering should cover your face from the bridge of your nose to under your chin. It should be loose-fitting but still secure enough to stay in place. Make sure you can talk with your Face Covering on and that it does not irritate you, so you are not tempted to touch it or pull it out of place, which could put you at risk from touching your face or limit its effectiveness. For more information, visit the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html

How do Face Coverings prevent the spread of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, cloth Face Coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth Face Covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID_19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html#recent-studies

Why are Face Coverings being encouraged now when they were not before?

COVID-19 is a new virus, and we learn new things about it every day. As we learn more about the virus, we now have more evidence to suggest that face coverings could slow the spread of the virus. We will continue to adapt our recommendations as we discover more about the novel Coronavirus.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a Face Covering?

The CDC does not recommend the use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth Face Coverings. However, for persons with health conditions that prohibit the wearing of face coverings, a face shield may be a better alternative than nothing.

Can wearing a Face Covering make me sick?

Face Coverings may be uncomfortable or difficult to get used to, but there is not sufficient evidence suggest that wearing a face covering can make a healthy individual sick. Both surgical and cloth Face Coverings are porous, allowing for normal breathing. According to the CDC, it is unlikely that wearing a Face Covering will cause a buildup of CO2.

Can my local health authority impose requirements to address COVID-19 in my community?

Yes. There is currently no state-wide public health order in place. Local health authorities retain their statutory and regulatory authority to establish public health orders as needed for businesses or individuals within their jurisdiction to address positive cases. See https://showmestrong.mo.gov/faq/#615-c35 or Missouri State Statute Section 192.300.

How can violations be reported?

Violations of the Face Covering Order can be reported by submitting comments and concerns to our website or by calling the St. Francois County Public Health Center at 573-431-1947.

How will this order be enforced?

Education will be the first step in enforcement. We will work to educate any violators of the ordinance before pursuing further action.