by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Today, June 18, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a mandate for the public to wear face coverings in every county and city in certain situations (some exemptions apply).

Gov. Gavin Newsom cited the many people opting to not wear face coverings and emphasized that the new mandate is part of the efforts to keep businesses open. 

A face covering is defined as a cloth that covers the nose and mouth. Everyone must now wear a face covering in “high-risk” situations, including working in restaurants and around food or members of the public

Details from the CDPH guidelines:  

  • When inside, 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;
  • 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;
  • Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
  • 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.
  • The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering:
    • Persons age two years or under. Very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
    • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
    • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
    • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
    • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
    • Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided that they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet away from persons who are not members of the same household or residence.
    • Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling or running, when alone or with household members, and when they are able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
    • Persons who are incarcerated. Prisons and jails, as part of their mitigation plans, will have specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings or masks for both inmates and staff.

Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others should wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.

The full document with the mandate is online at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Guidance-for-Face-Coverings_06-18-2020.pdf