California residents will be required to wear masks when outside of their homes, officials announced Thursday.
The new measures released by the state health department require residents to wear face coverings in nearly all settings outside of their homes as the state continues to gradually reopen businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia faces flash flood watches amid 'Bomb Cyclone' and 'Atmospheric River' Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Ivory poaching changes evolution of elephants California regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes MORE (D) said in a statement. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”
Newsom said officials are seeing “too many people with faces uncovered,” which is risking progress the state has made fighting the virus.
“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. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing,” he added.
A number of states already have statewide mask orders in place.
The requirements call for residents to wear face coverings when they are inside or in line to enter any public space. It also calls for residents to wear masks while outdoors in public spaces and within six feet of others.
“As Californians venture into our communities more, wearing face coverings is another important way we can help protect one another,” Sonia Angell, the director of the California Department of Public Health, said in the announcement. “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."
The requirement exempts some individuals, including children ages 2 and under and people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks.
It also allows people seated at a restaurant offering outdoor service not to wear masks while eating or drinking, provided that they are at least six feet away from people who are not members of the same residence.