Residents of Los Angeles should wear non-medical grade face coverings when in public, the city's mayor Eric Garcetti said in a news conference Tuesday.
Garcetti emphasized that all medical-grade N95 masks were reserved for front-line workers in hospitals and clinics.
“Please do not get medical grade or surgical masks, or N95 masks. We must not contribute to the shortage of these essential personal protective equipment for medial personnel and first responders,” he said.
Face coverings, like a bandanna, are only effective with safe physical distancing, he added. There are currently 8,155 cases of the virus in California.
Global debate on face masks: Despite the regular use of masks in Asian countries such as China and South Korea, Western governments have been slow to embrace them to stop the spread of the virus.
But with the number of new cases remaining low or stable in Asia, it appears that more countries in the West may change their approach.