Governor Newsom Orders All Californians To Wear Face Coverings In Public

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Governor Newsom announced, today, face coverings are now mandatory in the state of California.
By Don Fish Jr

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that everyone in the state will now be required to wear face masks in public.

“The risk for COVID-19 remains and the increasing number of Californians who are leaving their homes for work and other need, increases the risk for COVID-19 exposure and infection,” a statement from the state reads. “Over the last four months, we have learned a lot about COVID-19 transmission, most notable that people who are infected but are asymptomatic or presymptomatic play an important part in community spread. The use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, and/or sneezing, as well as reinforce physical distancing.”

The order issued by Governor Newsom states, as of June 18, 2020, new guidelines for the use of face coverings must be followed. “Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease. California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing,” said Newsom.

“As Californians venture into our communities more, wearing face coverings is another important way we can help protect one another,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. “Combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, wearing cloth face coverings when we are with others outside of our household will reduce the spread of COVID-19, which is still a very real threat across our state.”

The new guidance updated existing CDPH guidance for the use of cloth face coverings by the general public when outside the home. Californians must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible.

On April 7, 2020, San Bernardino County had issued a mandatory face covering order, which was later clarified as voluntary. Today’s California order now supersedes the county’s previous order.

The guidance mandates that “People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations,” which are:

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
    • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
    • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
    • working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
    • working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
    • In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance
  • Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
  • While outdoors in public spaces, when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

The guidance also states that the following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering:

  • Children aged two and under
  • Persons with a medical, mental health, or developmental disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
  • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service
  • Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence
  • Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others
  • Persons who are incarcerated. Prisons and jails, as part of their mitigation plans, will have specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings of masks for both inmates and staff.
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