A week after Orange County halted its mask mandate, Governor Gavin Newsom has now issued a statewide mandate that requires all Californians to wear a mask in public. Critics of the mandate are saying the governor is inciting unnecessary fear, while others are wondering whether anyone will enforce it.
“It’s virtue signaling for the governor to look like he’s doing something and I think it’s a distraction,” Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney and member of the Trump 2020 Council, said.
She called Newsom’s mask mandate a “one size fits all” policy that is not productive. “Let people who are adults make commonsense decisions. People who are sick should avoid being out and about and everybody else should be allowed to go about their business and use precautions that are consistent with their own healthcare risks.”
The California Department of Public Health says the governor’s order is a statewide requirement and flows from the same legal authority as all the other state orders.
Dhillon believes the state needs to focus on continuing to reopen, even though COVID-19 cases are back on the rise. She also says Newsom should be focused on nursing homes and prisons.
“And as I see moving trucks throughout San Francisco of people moving out of offices and their homes, this is an economic disaster that in itself has negative impacts, so let’s get back to work, Governor," she said.
Those except from this mandate include:
- Children 2 years or younger
- People with a medical condition
- People engaged in outdoor work or recreation, like bicycling or running, as long as they’re six feet away from people who are not part of their household
- If you’re sitting down at a restaurant, you also do not have to have a mask on.
As for enforcement, we know San Jose’s Police Department and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office have previously said they would refuse to enforce local health orders. On Thursday, we asked the San Francisco and Oakland Police Departments about enforcement. Both say they’re checking in with their county health departments before they release their plans.