Masks Now Mandatory at All California Restaurants

California Governor Gavin Newsom has escalated his mask guidance to a directive today. Unless exempted by state guidelines for specific public settings like schools and childcare centers, “People in California must wear face coverings when they are inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space.” His order applies state-wide.

The mandate includes restaurants, according to the order (“Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others”). It also includes areas of ingress and egress (“Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities.”)

Newsom’s action today follows a sobering report on June 15 by Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Health Director, whose health inspectors visited 2,000 restaurants this past weekend and found over 50% of them to be in noncompliance with COVID-19 regulations.

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

The following situations and populations are exempt from Newsom’s mask order:

  • Children less than two years old, due to the risk of suffocation.
  • Persons with a medical condition that prevents wearing a face covering.
  • Persons who are incarcerated.
  • Persons who are hearing impaired where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons receiving a service for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary, such as eating and dental visits.
  • Persons who are seated at a restaurant “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.”
  • Finally, “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.”

U.S. new cases of COVID-19 climbed a full 1% today. Several other states including Maine, Delaware, Michigan, New York, and Maryland already have statewide mask orders in place.

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

Photo by Tina Chelidze on Unsplash

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