News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London Breed Announces Citywide Mask Wearing Campaign in Partnership with San Francisco's Diverse Communities

Campaign encourages residents, workers, and visitors to wear face coverings at all times outside the home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and allow City to continue to reopen social and economic activities

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of a citywide public awareness campaign to educate residents, workers, and visitors about the importance of wearing face coverings at all times outside the home to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and help San Francisco continue reopening. The City worked with the California Academy of Sciences, the African-American Arts and Cultural District, the Latino Task Force, Self-Help for the Elderly, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Opportunities for All to develop the campaign.

The new campaign supports the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic with comprehensive, multilingual, and culturally competent outreach and public awareness with the overall goal of seeing more San Franciscans wear masks at all times when outside the home. The citywide campaign will be deployed with posters, signage, and digital billboards in areas where people tend to gather including parks, the Embarcadero and along major merchant corridors. In addition, the campaign includes a robust digital and social media presence with TV, radio, print and streaming ads in addition to out-of-home advertising and targeted outreach in neighborhood and multilingual press using the hashtag #MaskTheSFup.

“We are all eager to see our City reopen more and to be able to support our small businesses, see our youth get back in the classroom and see our friends again,” said Mayor Breed. “This campaign reminds us that it is possible, but everyone has a part to play and wearing a mask, socially distancing, and frequent hand washing is key. The good news is that most people are already on board. But we still have to remind people that we are in this for the long run, and if we want to keep reopening, we will have to keep wearing masks when we leave home.”

Wearing face coverings is an efficient and effective way to protect the health and safety of everyone in the city and is a critical part of San Francisco’s COVID-19 strategy. According to public health experts, if 80 percent of San Franciscans wore face coverings, the city can prevent outbreaks of COVID-19. Getting all residents to regularly and properly wear masks is critical to the health and safety of our residents and can lead to a significant decrease in the transmission of COVID-19.

The Public Health Department issued a Health Order in May requiring face coverings whenever in public, so that as the City embarked on the path to recovery and additional reopening, outbreaks would be less likely. A recent citywide survey demonstrated a 71 percent compliance rate of mask-wearing, demonstrating that many San Franciscans are doing their part, but that there is more work needed to achieve better compliance.

The campaign includes citywide outreach as well as targeted campaigns in the Mission District, the Excelsior, Chinatown, Oceanview, Merced and Ingleside neighborhoods, the Bayview, the Western Addition, Ingleside and the Tenderloin.

The comprehensive campaign is being deployed in advance of the Labor Day holiday weekend, when people typically gather with friends and families. With that in mind, the City is encouraging people to gather safely by avoiding indoor activities, planning activities to minimize contact, and wearing face coverings. More information about how to gather safely is available online here.

Face coverings help to stop droplets that may be infectious, even if the person wearing the mask has no or mild symptoms. By strengthening this form of protection, San Franciscans will be better prepared to participate safely in the gradual reopening of activities.

Face coverings should cover the nose and mouth and fit securely. They can be a manufactured or homemade mask, a bandanna, scarf, towel, or similar item. Cloth face coverings should be cleaned frequently with soap and water. Masks with one-way valves are not effective because they allow air droplets to freely escape when the wearer exhales. They should not be worn and do not qualify as a face covering under the order. More information about face coverings be found here.

Wearing a face covering is most effective when combined with physical distancing and hand washing. It is not a substitute for staying home, but it is a way to protect other people and reduce the chance of transmission when outside the house. San Francisco’s Stay Home Order is still in effect, and residents should continue to stay inside as much as possible.

“As a living part of our San Francisco community for nearly two centuries, the California Academy of Sciences is energized to help flatten the curve,” Scott Sampson, PhD., Executive Director, California Academy of Sciences. “We know science, and we know our city—we’re sharing our research-backed expertise to help keep everyone safe and help us continue to reopen. We all want to support our families, save our favorite businesses, and enjoy magical museum days by the Bay. Your trusted voice for science is asking everyone to wear a mask, now.”

“It is essential that our African American San Francisco residents feel seen and heard. Opening up the lines of communication between government and community is often the most important step,” Ericka Scott, Programs Director, San Francisco African American Arts and Cultural District. “Our youth and young adults paint the colors of their world everyday as they see it. When we support youth and foster leadership, we empower them, while breaking down those generational barriers. Every time our young leaders and our community mentors share the same message another link in the chain of racial and socioeconomic bondage breaks. The content in our marketing campaign not only represents who we are as a people, but it is intentional in making sure that we build awareness around best practices to keep our residents safe from COVID-19.”

“We are honored to partner with the City to educate our Chinese speaking seniors and families the importance of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COIVD-19,” said Anni Chung, Executive Director, Self-Help for the Elderly. “Providing linguistically and culturally competent information is crucial to many of our monolingual seniors and residents. Self Help for the Elderly, along with many other API community-based organizations, serve a large number of seniors, immigrants, and low-income families that depend on getting their public health and safety information in Chinese and other languages.”

“Representation and inclusion is important. The Latino Task Force collaboration with the Joint Information Center has allowed for our community to be represented and included,” said Susana Rojas, Latino Task Force Communications Committee Chair. “By depicting images that relate to the Latino community we are ensuring that the message is effective, culturally relevant and that it supports our vulnerable communities.”

“It is common for younger generations to be plagued by apathy when it comes to politics and civic engagement, and unfortunately, this virus has become highly politicized. We have been dealt an enormous amount of obstacles by previous generations, so indifference is understandable but also unsustainable,” said Athena Edwards, Fellow, Opportunities for All. “It is imperative that our generation feel empowered to take care of themselves and each other, because we need to take an active role in fixing our nation’s challenges, even beyond COVID-19. The hope is that by encouraging the city’s youth to illustrate, both literally and figuratively, proper COVID protocol, we can motivate all young residents in the city to take this virus seriously and save lives.”

“The LGBTQ community has been here before. In the 80s we showed the world how to respond to a virus with compassion and common sense. Together, we can do it again,” said Sister Roma, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. “Here in the Bay Area we believe in science and trust the experts. Right now, we know that the best way to protect ourselves and others is to wear a face covering and practice social distancing. We will be able to gather, dance, and hug each other again, but only if we #MaskUp and #PracticeSafeSix.”

A media kit is available here for graphics and other creatives for each campaign.