On Friday, April 17, 2020, a “Cover Your Face” order was issued for five Bay Area counties – San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda – asking the public to carry cloth face coverings and wear them when within six feet of others, including when hiking, running, and biking.
The new order recommends that all people engaged in outdoor recreation “bring a Face Covering and wear that Face Covering in circumstances where it is difficult to maintain compliance with social distancing requirements, and that they carry the Face Covering in a visible and readily accessible location, such as around the person’s neck or in a pocket for such use.”
“For the safety of individuals, the public, and park employees, visitors should follow all local health agency recommendations, including the new ‘Cover Your Face’ directive,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “Visitors should carry cloth face coverings with them when in Regional Parks and wear them whenever six-feet social distancing cannot be maintained.”
Visitors should be prepared to wear cloth face coverings when in parking lots, staging areas, and around entrance gates since they can be crowded, making it difficult to maintain 6-feet social distancing. Hikers should also be prepared to put on cloth face coverings when hiking on narrow or crowded trails since maintaining six-feet social distancing may be challenging.
The new order also recommends that runners and cyclists, who “more forcefully expel airborne particles,” should take extra steps to avoid exposing others, including:
Local health agencies are also recommending that those doing strenuous exercise keep further distance when possible.
For children, parents and caregivers should closely supervise the use of face coverings to avoid misuse. The “Cover Your Face” order does not require face coverings for children aged 12 years or less, and children two years or less should not wear face coverings because of the risk of suffocation. Additionally, people from the same household are exempt from needing to wear a cloth face covering when within six feet of each other.
The Park District is updating park signage to inform visitors about the new “Cover Your Face” health directive and the recommendation to keep further distance when doing strenuous exercise.
For up-to-date information about COVID-19 park-related closures, visit www.ebparks.org/coronavirus.
The East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park system in the nation, comprising 73 parks, 55 miles of shoreline, and over 1,300 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and environmental education. The Park District receives more than 25 million visits annually throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor