Californians must now wear face coverings in public spaces, no matter the county you live in.Patch, by Renee Schiavone, June 18, 2020
CALIFORNIA — The debate at the county level about whether face coverings should be mandatory or not appears to be over for now, as California officials announced Thursday that the masks are now required in all public places. The requirement is effective immediately.
“Californians are now required to wear face coverings in public spaces – particularly indoors or when physical distancing is not possible,” the governor’s office said in a tweet.
The state’s health and human services agency said cloth face coverings “help reduce the spread of coronavirus especially when combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing.”
There are some exemptions, including for those under 2 years old, those who need to communicate via sign language and those seated at a restaurant.
The state’s 58 counties had previously been allowed to make the decision on face covering requirements locally. Orange County had been in the headlines most recently, downgrading their requirement to a “recommendation.” Other counties in the Bay Area have had a face covering mandate in place for months.
The state’s 58 counties had previously been allowed to make the decision on face covering requirements locally. Orange County had been in the headlines most recently, downgrading their requirement to a “recommendation.” Other counties in the Bay Area have had a face covering mandate in place for months. [Editor: CORRECTION – Solano County is the one Bay Area County that does NOT have a mandatory face covering order. – R.S.]
NEW: Californians are now required to wear face coverings in public spaces – particularly indoors or when physical distancing is not possible. 😷
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) June 18, 2020
The state listed certain “high risk” situations where the coverings are mandatory:
- 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 six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering, according to the state:
- 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.
Learn more about the guidance and limited exceptions here.