On June 18, 2020, the California Department of Public Health announced that statewide, the general public is now required to use cloth face coverings when outside the home, with limited exceptions.
“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in a press release. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”
Per the updated guidance, Californians must wear a face covering when they are:
- Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space.
- Obtaining services from the health care sector.
- Waiting for, riding on, driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle. Passengers must always wear face coverings; drivers and operators must wear face coverings when passengers are present, and face coverings are strongly recommended when no passengers are present.
- Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when in any room or enclosed area where other people outside their own household or residence are present and they can’t physically distance, when interacting in-person with any member of the public and when:
- 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; and
- Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators and parking facilities.
- While in public outdoor spaces when it’s not feasible to maintain six feet of physical distance from persons not in the same household or residence.
Those exempt from wearing a face covering include children age two and under, as well as people:
- With a medical, mental health or developmental disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
- Who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
- 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;
- Obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
- Seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service while they’re eating or drinking as long as they maintain a distance of at least six feet from persons outside their household or residence;
- Engaged in outdoor work or recreation (such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling or running) when alone or with household members, and when they’re able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others; and
- Who are incarcerated, as prisons and jails will have specific guidance on wearing of face coverings or masks for inmates and staff.
Newsom said he took this action due to too many people venturing out with faces uncovered, which puts the progress made in fighting the disease at risk.
“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,” he said in the press release. “That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.”