Masks Now Mandatory at Many Santa Barbara Businesses

New City Order Applies to Both Employees and Public During COVID-19 Crisis

Certified farmers' markets are one of the locations where employees and patrons must now wear masks or face coverings while they work and shop. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

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The Santa Barbara City Council voted Tuesday to require employees and patrons of certain businesses to wear masks or face coverings while they work and shop. 

The council defined masks as cloth masks, scarves, bandanas, or other face coverings over the mouth and nose. N95 or surgical masks are not required.


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Businesses should prohibit the entry of anyone not wearing a mask, the council decreed, and stores may provide free masks to customers or make them available for purchase. Businesses ought to provide face masks for their workers free of charge.

The order goes into effect Friday, May 1, and affects the following types of businesses:

  • Pharmacies and drug stores;
  • Grocery stores, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse stores, food banks, certified farmers’ markets, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, water, pet food and pet medication supply (but not grooming or training), fresh or frozen meats, fish, and poultry, or any other household consumer products (such as construction supplies, cleaning and personal-care products);
  • Organizations and businesses that provide food or other services to the public;
  • Hardware and building supply stores and nurseries;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Restaurants and retail food facilities that prepare and offer food to customers via pickup or drive-through;
  • Taxis, ride-sharing services, car-rental companies, and other private transportation services; and
  • Hotels and motels, in publicly accessible areas. 

For further details and to read the city’s emergency order, click here

The Metropolitan Transit District, which serves Santa Barbara’s south coast, will also require face coverings on all buses as of May 1.


At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor.  Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you  in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.

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