Under cover

New policy mandates citizens to wear facial coverings


Photo provided by Giselle Geering

Freshman, Giselle Geering, makes masks to sell for nurses in New Orleans and residents near her. After the facial covering policy was released, Geering stopped her mask business.

As of April 21, 2020, National City was the first city in San Diego County to require facial coverings when on essential outings. National City’s mayor, Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, has developed the phrase, “Leave your place, cover your face,” which was popularized around San Diego County.

“We wanted to implement [the face covering policy] because over the course of two weeks, we had seen a spike in increased positive tests here in our South Bay region but in particular National City–so our city took it to the next level with requiring face masks when in public settings,” Sotelo-Solis said.

Currently, the city is in “education mode,” signifying that the city council is working towards educating the residents of National City. Platforms like social media, city council meetings, and press conferences are used to help further spread the rules of the policy.

“[Wearing a face covering is] one of those things where you do not have to have a medical grade mask. It needs to be something that covers your nose and your mouth because it is also a reminder not to touch your face, to wash your hands [and] to stay six feet apart,” Sotelo-Solis said.

Although Chula Vista’s mayor, Mary Salas, was unavailable for comment, Sotelo-Solis remains in communication with Salas and many other local city mayors in order to study any patterns that may emerge from COVID-19.

“As a city and as the mayor, we will continue to work to protect [the residents], get them the testing they need and give them the support that they need if they do end up becoming positive, because we will overcome this will be successful at beating this fight against COVID-19,” Sotelo-Solis said. 

On April 21, 2020–two days after the facial covering policy went into effect–Chula Vista’s mayor Mary Salas issued a policy mandating all citizens of Chula Vista to wear a facial covering in response to the spread of COVID-19– making it the second city in San Diego County to require facial coverings.

According to the City of Chula Vista’s website, residents are required to:

  1. Cover their face when at an essential business (grocery store, bank, gas station, etc.)
  2. Wear face covering when outside of the house or at a park; must be 6’ away from another person; no picnics allowed
  3. Stay home unless there are any essential appointments (grocery store, doctor’s appointment)
  4. No gatherings of any size are allowed (any interaction must be done in a household)

As a result of COVID-19, Bonita Vista High school (BVH) sophomore Elena Boyd has begun making and donating masks to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center after being laid off from her job as a volunteer receptionist. Since the beginning of spring break, Boyd has used her crafting skills to make these masks to not only donate them to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, but also to give to her customers for free.

“I’ve been doing crafty things my whole life–sewing, crocheting, knitting– and I figured since people need face masks right now that I could use my skills [and] put them to work–and I’m not charging,” Boyd said.

This is one of the many masks sophomore Elena Boyd created during quarantine. She donated many of her masks to Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. Photo provided by Elena Boyd

Similarly, BVH freshman Giselle Geering started making masks at the beginning of spring break and originally sold them to nurses in New Orleans but eventually grew her business. Geering sold her masks for a price of five dollars; however, after spring break she slowed her business down and stopped selling due to all the local businesses selling around her.

“I had a lot of time on my hands and I love to sew so I decided, ‘Why not put my sewing skills to use and sell masks for people who need them?” Geering said. “As I continued making masks, there was less of a demand for them because more people started to sell them and a lot of people had them. I think once the order was in place to require a mask to be worn, most people had a mask, so I stopped selling.”


The facial covering policy remains in effect as of May 17, 2020, and is indefinite until said otherwise by Salas, although restrictions– like beaches being cleared for reopening– are being reconsidered.

“Seeing the spike [in COVID-19 cases, we have to recognize] that we have essential workers in our community [and] within our neighborhood. They are our neighbors, they are our family members–we want to make sure that they are protected,” Solis said. “Whenever customers go to get their essential groceries or go to the bank to cash their check, we want to make sure that they are protected, as well as our central employees. So, it’s a combination of both recognizing that we have those essential workers and that we want to continue to protect our residents.”