In a statement Monday evening, the state’s health and human services department issued new guidance on face coverings for all Californians in response to increasing rates of novel coronavirus spread.
According to that guidance, which supersedes a previous order during a COVID-19 case spike last June, state residents should wear coverings everywhere outside their homes, with limited exceptions, and not substitute them for current hygiene and social-distancing policies.
Citing a U.S. Centers for Disease Control brief updated last week, health officials said masks not only serve as signal reminders to physically distance, but appear to offer a measure of protection to wearers and others they encounter.
The only permitted exceptions for mask wearing include: being in cars alone or with household members; working alone in an office or room; or eating, drinking or being outdoors while maintaining distances of at least six feet while around non-household members. In the latter category, people must carry masks with them and put them on if within six feet of others.
Other exceptions include receipt of services involving the nose or face that make temporary removal a necessity; workers who must wear respiratory protective gear, or others specifically exempt by other department rules.
Only specific categories of state residents are exempt from mask wearing, including those under two years old, due to suffocation risk; those with medical or mental health conditions or disabilities; those who are hearing-impaired or who rely on visible mouths for communication; or those who face risk due to wearing face coverings, according to local, state, federal or workplace safety guidelines.
Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.