The California Department of Public Health Thursday issued a new guideline requiring that all Californians wear face masks or cloth face coverings in high-risk environments, qualified as most indoor public spaces and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible.

People will be required to wear masks at indoor public places, in most workplace settings and while receiving healthcare services, including but not limited to hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, laboratories, medical offices and dental offices.

Jesse Garnier The California Department of Public Health, with support from Gov. Gavin Newsom, issued a statewide mandate Thursday, June 18, 2020 requiring people to wear face masks or cloth coverings while in most indoor public and work spaces, as well as outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. This graphic reflects California’s daily change in Covid-19 cases as of Wednesday.

People are also required to wear masks when riding public transit, paratransit and when riding hail app services, such as Lyft and Uber.

Employees who interact with the public, where food is prepared and in common workspace areas, will also be required to wear masks or coverings. Going even further with workplace requirements, the published mandate requires employers and employees wear coverings:

“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.”

Persons outdoors who are unable to practice physical distancing are now also required to cover their faces.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that science has shown that masks and face coverings work to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The governor said:

“They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”

Persons exempted from the new rule include:

  • Children under the age of two
  • Persons with specific medical conditions
  • The hearing impaired
  • Persons receiving services that require removal of a mask
  • Seated restaurant diners if spaced 6 feet from other tables
  • Inmates
  • People engaged in outdoor activities while alone or with other household members

Dr. Sonia Angell, the state’s public health officer, said in a statement:

“Combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, wearing cloth face coverings when we are with others outside of our household will reduce the spread of Covid-19, which is still a very real threat across our state.”

Public health officials across the Bay Area have already issued various  forms of mask guidance — some counties have already made masks or coverings a requirement at most indoor businesses and facilities.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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