Face Masks Now Required Statewide

Face coverings are now required in the entire state of California under an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.

The EO may take pressure off some county health officers and city officials who have faced harassment and intimidation over local face mask policies. One of those officials, Dr. Nichole Quick, recently resigned after facing death threats over Orange County’s face covering rule. The policy was later reversed by her successor, Dr. Clayton Chau.

Newsom’s order mandates face coverings in all indoor public spaces, rideshares and taxis, public transit, when standing in line or walking through common areas, outdoors when six feet of distance is not possible, and anywhere food is prepared. Children under 2 and those who can’t wear masks because of a health condition are exempt.

“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom said in a statement. “They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy.”

Mixed messaging on face masks initially created public confusion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommend mask use for all persons to slow the spread of coronavirus, especially in light of recent studies that confirm the benefits of widespread mask use. You can read some of those studies here and here.