California Gov. Gavin Newsom Says People Now Required To Wear Masks In Public

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Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom released a new statewide guideline Thursday requiring California residents to wear face coverings in most public places.

The guideline, which was released by the California Department of Public Health in response to new information about the coronavirus, updated a previous guideline that was issued by the state government April 1. California has recorded 161,000 cases so far with nearly 5,300 reported deaths, according to the state government.

Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order in March and requested nearly $1 billion in funding from the federal government to create additional medical facilities. Research confirmed that the first coronavirus case in the United States occurred in California’s Santa Clara County sometime in late January.

California’s government began lifting a number of statewide restrictions in May, although the state saw a resurgence in the number of cases soon after. Nearly 3,500 new cases were recorded Wednesday, Politico reported.

The new guideline requires Californians to wear a face covering in most indoor and outdoor settings when social distancing isn’t possible. It also requires workers who engage with the public to wear a face covering, along with anyone who uses public transit or visits a health-related office.

The guideline does exempt children under 2, people with certain disabilities, and people who work in outdoor spaces or exercise outdoors. The guideline emphasizes that people maintain a physical distance of six feet from others while in a public place.

Newsom’s guideline is likely to generate controversy, as mask requirements have already been a matter of political debate in California, according to Politico. Newsom’s government has been criticized in the past for its response to the coronavirus. (RELATED: Illegal Aliens In California Can Now Begin Applying For Coronavirus Assistance)

Instances of angry customers denied entry into businesses and grocery stores for not wearing a mask have also garnered public attention.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement Thursday. “That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.”