Wearing face coverings was previously recommended, not required

By Ashley Boucher
June 18, 2020 06:54 PM
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Californians wearing face masks
Apu GOMES / AFP

It is now mandatory to wear a cloth face covering while in public in California, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered Thursday.

The stricter order comes after wearing a face covering had only been recommended, not required, in the state to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) — and as California has seen a rise in positive cases in recent days, after many counties in California have begun to reopen this month.

"Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease," Newsom said Thursday, per CNN. "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."

Updated guidance from the state on Thursday said that face coverings are required in "common and public indoor spaces and outdoors when distancing is not possible." That includes while taking public transportation, receiving medical care, shopping and at work.

Wearing face coverings "by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, and/or sneezing, as well as reinforce physical distancing," especially when it comes to people who have COVID-19 but do not display symptoms, stated the updated guidance.

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The LA Times reported Thursday that the state a new record for the most positive cases in a single day was recorded on Wednesday, with 4,291 new cases. It is also the first time that the state has recorded more than 4,000 cases in one day, according to the outlet.

Los Angeles has the highest number of COVID-19 cases out of any county, with 77,189 confirmed cases and 2,991 deaths related to the virus as of Thursday, according to data from the New York Times.

However, as the LA Times noted, hundreds of the new cases are part of a backlog of test results.

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