Californians Are Now Required To Wear Face Masks In Public

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Newsom ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings.

On Thursday, June 18, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to wear a face-covering in public, including when shopping, on public transit or seeking medical care. The order goes into effect immediately and those that do not comply could be charged with a misdemeanor or fined.

This follows weeks of contention around rules withing certain counties and concerns around the growing number of cases, which have been attributed to the failure to wear masks. Just a week ago, Orange County retracted its order to wear masks. Meanwhile, Angelenos have been required to wear masks since mid-May. Overall, cases have been rising across the state.

“Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”

Previously, the state health officials had only recommended that face masks be worn. This new mandate is designed to prevent the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.

Guidance, according to the state website:

People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below.

• 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

• 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.

However, there are exceptions for infants and children under the age of 2, the hearing impaired and those communicating with them. In addition, restaurant customers may remove masks while eating or drinking and those exercising in outdoor recreational spaces that are able to socially distance may remove their masks. Of course, anyone with underlying health issues that would prevent them from wearing a mask is also exempt.

Featured Image: Thomas de Luze

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