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California Mandates Face Coverings in Most Public Settings

On June 18, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state order – Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings – which mandates face coverings for all in most public settings in California. As states have begun to slowly reopen, many of them, including California, have seen an increase in COVID-19 infections.

As stated in the Guidance, “the use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, and/or sneezing, as well as reinforce physical distancing.” Therefore, people in California now must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:

  • Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
  • Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, 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;
  • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
  • 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.
  • While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.

Children under two years of age, persons with medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, and persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired are exempt from wearing face coverings.

Additionally, the following situations do not require masks to be worn.

  1. Services involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
  2. Dining at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, when a distance of at least six feet from others not in the same household is maintained.
  3. Engaging in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when a distance of at least six feet from others is maintained.


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