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5 things to know about San Antonio's new facial-covering rule

, San Antonio-area residents will be required to wear face coverings in public places where social distancing is difficult.

The new facial-covering rule, signed into law Thursday by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff, requires everyone 10 years or older to wear a cloth mask, scarf, bandanna or other similar item over the nose and mouth in public places where it is difficult to stay six feet away from others.

Officials said other regions of the world have found face San Antonio News coverings effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus by people with symptoms, as well as asymptomatic carriers who could be feeling perfectly healthy.

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“When most people think about masks, they think that they’re protecting themselves from other people. But there’s more science to show that it protects other people from you,” said Dr. Junda Woo, medical director with Metro Health.

“It is not a substitute for social distancing, because that’s a lot more powerful than wearing the mask — keeping that six-foot distance,” she cautioned.

The requirement takes effect Monday.

Here's what you need to know about the new rule:

- Officials strongly recommend that you do not obtain or wear medical masks or N95 respirators because they are needed for health care workers and first responders.

- By Monday, essential businesses still operating under city and county Press Release Distribution Service In San Antonio stay-at-home orders must provide face coverings for their employees and train the employees in appropriate use of the masks.

- Under the emergency orders, violations can result in a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail. Nirenberg acknowledged enforcement of the face-covering rule will be challenging, but he said many people already are wearing them. Citations could be issued if there are "egregious violations."

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