California mandates masks in most indoor settings |

California mandates masks in most indoor settings

Dylan Svoboda / Mountain Democrat

As state health officials work to curb the spread of COVID-19, California has made it a requirement to wear a mask in most indoor and some outdoor settings.

The state started mandating face coverings when distancing isn’t possible Thursday, a day when El Dorado County officials found four more coronavirus cases in county residents. 

“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press release. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.” 

California joins Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Michigan and New York as the first to implement a statewide mask order. 

People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations, which includes:

  • Waiting in line to enter any indoor public space
  • In a healthcare sector setting
  • Riding in or driving for public transit or a ride-share
  • Working with other people or visitors
  • Working in food prep or packaging
  • Walking through common areas
  • When they are in a room or enclosed area with other people while unable to physically distance
  • While outdoors in public spaces with others from outside their household while unable to physically distance

The mask order contains several exemptions, including:

  • Children under two-years-old.
  • Those with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired.
  • Those who may be at-risk at work due to wearing a mask
  • Those obtaining services involving the nose or face
  • People eating or drinking in public places
  • When engaged in outdoor work, recreational activities or exercise
  • Incarcerated people

The governor’s statewide mask order “reduces whatever confusion exists as a result of counties and cities having different requirements” when it comes to facial coverings, according to county spokeswomen Carla Hass. 

The statewide order avoids a county-by-county, checkered approach to facial coverings, reducing uncertainty surrounding which local jurisdictions have mask rules, and how those rules are written. Counties such as Santa Clara and Orange had mask mandates of their own before Thursday. 

Dr. Nancy Williams, the county’s public health officer, has advocated the use of masks for months amid the coronavirus pandemic. Williams “supports face coverings as one way to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” Hass said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization recommend cloth masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Both the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and Placerville Police Department said they have no plans to enforce the mask requirement. In a Facebook post, PPD officials state, “We ask that you use common sense and keep yourself safe. Please do not call dispatch to report others not wearing masks. This is not a police issue.”

To date, there have been 125 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in El Dorado County. Twenty-five of those cases are currently active, according to county data. 

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