Facial Coverings Become Mandatory Throughout California

June 18, 2020

At a press conference today, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a statewide order requiring people to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings. The requirement is effective immediately.

"Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered, putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease," said Newsom. "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."

Under the new order, people in California now must wear a facial covering when they are in the high-risk situations, including in line or inside a public space, when obtaining healthcare services, when inside public transit or ride share, when interacting with non-household members in a public setting, while working in any public place or business, when entering common areas of buildings, and nearly any situation where a person is coming within 6 feet of any non-household members. Newsom's announcement is likely a response to Orang County rescinding its facial covering order last week following backlash from many residents. Newsom did not discuss how the new requirement will be enforced.

The new California face covering order exempts children 2 years old and under, as well as people with a medical, mental health or developmental disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering. The hearing impared and their translators are also exempt, as are restaurant customers once seated and eating and drinking. People outdoors are exempt so long as they are social distance from non-household members.

In San Diego, facial coverings have been required since May 1 whenever entering public spaces where people will come within 6 feet of non-household members. See the full California Department of Public Health Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings memo below.