By Sandra G. Leon
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order requiring residents to wear face coverings in public settings where social distancing is not possible or where interacts are prolonged, but with various specific exceptions.
The new order specifically requires face coverings when inside or in line to enter any indoor public space; while obtaining health services; while waiting for or riding on public transportation or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle; at work while interacting with people or in areas where food is being prepared, in common areas such as hallways and elevators and parking structures; and in outdoor public spaces when it is not feasible to maintain six feet of distance from people outside your own household.
“Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered, putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease,” Governor 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,” Newsom added.
Exceptions to the face-covering requirement include for children under 3 years old; 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; where wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work; when obtaining a service involving the nose or face; when seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while eating or drinking, provided that they maintain social distancing from persons who are not members of the same household or residence; and when engaged in outdoor work or recreation including swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when social distancing.
The state order now supersedes all counties and sets a statewide standard. San Diego has maintained a requirement to wear face coverings since May 1st, but other counties only recommend wearing face coverings.
In Orange County, the chief health officer was removed because she issued an order mandating face coverings. The new county health officer then issued a recommendation, rather than mandate, to wear face coverings. Orange County has reported 33 COVID-19 related deaths this week, with confirmed cases increasing to 9,292. Los Angeles County reported 2,000 new confirmed cases on Wednesday.
San Diego County surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases on Wednesday, bringing to total to 10,092 with 238 new cases reported on Wednesday. Two additional deaths were reported on Wednesday, bring the total to 331 deaths.