Gov. Newsom issued another executive order late yesterday that Californians must wear masks in all indoor activities. The new rules require face coverings when people are riding in taxis and rideshare cars, taking public transit, standing in line to enter a building, or walking through common areas like hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking garages. It also requires masks for people working in a building visited by the public even if no other people are present and at all locations where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution. So, as I go to the coffee shop across the street, I must wear a mask. Masks are also required outdoors in spaces where people cannot maintain six feet of distance from one another. The obvious question is if everyone is maintaining 6 feet separation, do anyone of us need to wear a mask, and who is policing this?
The new rules are intended to prevent people who are infected with COVID-19 but not showing symptoms, from spreading the virus, according to an announcement by the California Department of Public Health. Gov. Newsom said he decided to issue the guidance because “we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered – putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease.” Children under age 2 do not have to wear masks under the new rules. People with medical conditions or developmental disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks are also exempt. The rules also make exceptions for people who are deaf or have hearing loss who may rely on reading lips and facial expressions for communication and allow others to remove their masks when communicating with them.