The California governor’s office put out a tweet on Saturday advising that restaurant-goers keep their masks on while dining. “Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend?” the tweet reads. “Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites. Do your part to keep those around you healthy.”
In California, masks are required for anyone going outside their home, as well as workers in customer-facing businesses, offices, factories, and health care professionals, among others, according to the state’s COVID-19 guidance.
Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don't forget to keep your mask on in between bites.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) October 3, 2020
While children under 2 years old and those with breathing troubles or medical exemptions do not need to wear a mask, everyone else is required to wear them in all indoor public places — and also outdoors if keeping 6 feet of social distance with others isn’t possible.
The official guidance does say that masks can be removed for a number of reasons, including eating or drinking. However, the tweet from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office offered somewhat different advice, which confused some Twitter users.
“I’m very confused by this tweet. The image suggests you should only take your mask off once when you begin a meal but the text suggests you should put it back on between bites,” journalist Matthew Fuhrman wrote, referring to the graphic shared in the tweet.
“Should we wash our hands after touching our mask each time we remove it between bites? What if I’m eating chips and salsa and I go for a double dip? Is that technically two bites since it’s the same chip?” another person asked.
“This violates the @WHO ‘Dont’s of Mask wearing,'” another person tweeted, including a graphic from the World Health Organization which advises people to avoid touching their mask as much as possible, and to wash their hands before touching their mask and after discarding it.
CBS News has reached out to the governor’s office for more information on the guidance in the tweet.
In California’s published guidance for dining in restaurants, wearing a mask in between bites is not mentioned. Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible, the use of face coverings by workers and customers, frequent hand-washing and regular disinfecting are among the elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan. Many counties in California currently limit indoor restaurants to 25% of normal capacity, or are allowing outdoor dining only, depending on local infection rates.
In New York, which also has a statewide mask mandate and has reopened limited indoor and outdoor dining, the rule is to wear face coverings at all times — except while seated at a restaurants. In Georgia, where masks are “strongly encouraged” but not required, there is an exception “when eating, drinking, or exercising outdoors.”