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COVID-19 Advisory: California Issues Statewide Requirement for Face Covering

June 19, 2020
To: Chavez, Teresa
From: Pandemic Working Group
To: All Domestic Employees
Re: COVID-19: California Issues Statewide Requirement for Face Covering

Effective June 18, Californians are required to wear face coverings in most indoor settings and other situations deemed to be high‐risk. According to the LA Times, Gov. Newsom said there are “too many people with faces uncovered – 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 social distancing.” 

The current public health order requires wearing face coverings while inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space, waiting for and riding public transit, obtaining health care services, while outdoors when 6‐feet of physical distance from others is not possible, and other situations deemed to be high risk. Importantly, it also requires wearing face coverings while at the workplace or working off‐site, when: “working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities.” The order exempts children under 2 years old and people with medical conditions that prevent wearing a face covering. There are several other requirements and exemptions, so please review the latest guidance here

Previously, state health officials only recommended the wearing of face coverings in public when a 6‐ft. physical distance cannot be maintained. As reported last week, after the Orange County health officer resigned due to threats to her safety from opponents of the County’s requirement for face coverings, the new acting OC health officer, Dr. Clayton Chau, promptly changed the requirement for face coverings to a ‘strong recommendation’ to be consistent with state recommendations at that time. Dr. Chau continues to stress the importance of face coverings, telling Voice of OC that “transmission is most likely when people are in close contact with an infected person, even if that person does not have any symptoms or has not yet developed symptoms.”

Voice of OC also reports that Orange County now has the highest rates of coronavirus‐related deaths and hospitalizations so far of the pandemic. While the rates of neighboring Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties have been decreasing or rising slowly the past several weeks, Orange County’s rates have risen sharply and now top the neighboring three counties. 

Orange County leaders sound off on the importance of wearing masks or face coverings: 
“The science now is getting overwhelming’ about the effectiveness of masks” 
– Dr. Thomas Cesario, infectious disease doctor and former dean of UC Irvine’s medical school 

“We know that the number‐one preventative measure [against] exponentially increasing infections is to wear masks” 
– Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the OC Business Council

“Safe reopening is critical, and mask wearing is among the limited remaining tools at our disposal to protect ourselves and one another from rapid escalation of disease” 
– executives of Children’s Hospital of OC (CHOC)

If you have any questions or comments on this advisory, please contact either kellyw@amvac.com or timd@amvac.com.

COVID-19 Advisory: California Issues Statewide Requirement for Face Covering