California orders residents to wear masks in ‘most settings outside the home’

FILE PHOTO: Skateboarders wear face masks as others sit at the beach on Memorial Day weekend during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Huntington Beach, California, U.S., May 23, 2020. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California on Thursday ordered residents to wear masks in “most settings outside the home,” saying the new rule was necessary because too many Californians were neglecting to cover their faces during the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents must wear masks outdoors and “in any indoor space,” with exceptions made for diners while they are eating or drinking and people engaging in outdoor recreation, as long as they maintain 6 feet of physical distance.

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

It was not immediately clear how the order would be enforced.

California was the first U.S. state to impose statewide stay-at-home restrictions and mandatory workplace closures, on March 19.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis