HAYWARD (CBS SF) — Officials in Hayward on Monday said that they have acquired 10,000 medical procedural masks to distribute to local essential businesses to help keep their employees and customers safe during the new coronavirus health emergency.

The city said it acquired the masks after federal, state and county health authorities recommended that people cover their noses and mouths when they’re outside their homes as an additional precaution to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus and slow the spread of its contagion.

On Friday, Alameda County public health officer Dr. Erica Pan issued a stricter order making face-coverings a requirement for everyone 13 years old and older.

Under the order, the face coverings can be simple and homemade, made of cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable material without holes that cover the nose and mouth.

Health authorities say they are making face coverings a requirement because people can be infected with the coronavirus and be contagious without knowing it.

They say face coverings can help by blocking respiratory droplets that people expel when they breathe or sneeze.

Hayward officials said the procedural masks they’ve acquired for distribution to essential businesses aren’t the surgical or N95-grade masks that are still in short supply and should be preserved for health care workers and first-responders.

Local businesses that want to request masks may call the Hayward COVID-19 hotline at (510) 583-4949.

Hayward officials said distribution of the masks will be prioritized for essential businesses where the need is considered greatest, starting with grocery stores.

Other essential worksites and services to be prioritized include restaurants and commissary kitchens, businesses that ship or deliver food, goods or provide services directly to residents, food manufacturing and distribution companies, hardware stores and businesses that provide food, shelter, social services and other necessities of life for economically-disadvantaged and needy people.

Mask orders taken by Hayward’s COVID-19 hotline call center will be filled in paper grocery bags and made available for pickup by appointment in the rotunda at City Hall.

To be eligible to participate, businesses must have a valid business license to operate in the city of Hayward.

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