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After weeks of controversy over face masks in some counties, Governor Gavin Newsrom on Thursday, June 18, ordered all California residents to wear face coverings in public. 

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has asked Angelenos to wear face masks outside of their homes since mid-May.

In a tweet, Newsom capitalized the word “required”‘ with a link to the state’s COVID-19 website. The governor’s new mask requirement begins immediately, per the state website. 

“Cloth face coverings or masks help reduce the spread of coronavirus especially when combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing. Starting June 18, Californians must wear face coverings in common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible,” the website states.

The new mask ordinance has been specifically modified to prevent the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19, according to a memo from California Department of Public Health. 

“Over the last four months, we have learned a lot about COVID-19 transmission, most notably that people who are infected but are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic play an important part in community spread,” the memo reads. “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.” 

Mask Guidelines

  • 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
  •  Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time
  • 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.

However, there are exceptions for individuals who are incarcerated or in jail and children less than 2-years-old.

Additionally, a face covering does not have to be worn while engaging in outdoor work or recreation, if you are able to maintain social distance.  

The memo also offers tips on how to care for face masks and at which point face coverings should be discarded.  

As of Thursday, June 18, California experienced a 2.6 increase in total COVID-19 cases, along with a 1.6 increase in COVID-19 related deaths. California reported 4,084 new COVID-19 cases statewide.

“More than half of new cases were reported from Los Angeles County, with 600 results coming in from an earlier testing period,” according to state data.