California residents are now required to wear face masks while in public or high-risk spaces anywhere across the state amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest order issued on Thursday.
The guidelines, released by the state Department of Public Health, mandate that masks be worn under various circumstances including:
- Inside of or while in line to enter any public space.
- When obtaining services from health care sector settings, such as a hospital, pharmacy, dental office or veterinary clinic.
- While waiting for or riding on public transportation, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle.
- When engaged in work at one’s workplace or performing work off-site.
- While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household.
Exceptions to the order include children aged 2 and under and people with medical, mental health or developmental disability that prevents them from wearing a face mask. Those engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, hiking or running will not have to wear one so long as they are alone or with members of their household. Restaurant customers will also not be required to wear face coverings when eating or drinking.
Los Angeles County and other counties such as San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, already have required masks in public.
In April, Mayor Cameron Smyth clarified that masks were mandated in the city of Santa Clarita after the county issued the requirement that same month.
“If you want to take your dog for a walk or you want to walk by yourself or go for a solo jog through your neighborhood, you do not have to wear a mask,” he said in April of guidelines that still apply today. “But if you are going to be engaging or if you’re going to be walking with your family unit, it probably makes sense to bring your masks and to wear them, if you think you’re going to come in contact with other members of the community.”
Prior to Thursday’s mandate, the state had only recommended the use of masks and the order comes after Orange County officials rescinded their requirement for residents to wear them. In Ventura County, face coverings were also only encouraged. On Monday, the Ventura City Council voted to require residents to wear them, as is also required in Santa Barbara County.
More information about the state’s COVID-19 guidance is on the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance web page.