Several California jurisdictions do not require residents to wear masks in public as the state moves into various stages of reopening.
The Orange County health director recently resigned after receiving threats for her face coverings mandate. Yesterday, days after her departure, the interim health officer relaxed the order. Movie theaters, gyms, and hotels are reopening today in the county.
Riverside County ended the mandatory mask order in late April after their cases started to level off. The health department strongly recommends face coverings and some business can require it of patrons, according to Jose Arballo, Jr., public information officer for the county health department.
San Bernardino suggests several options to those who want to cover up and encourages people to do so.
“All individuals in San Bernardino County are strongly encouraged to use face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as scarves (dense fabric, without holes), bandanas, neck gaiters, or other fabric face coverings when in public, when working in or patronizing businesses, public agencies and nonprofit and faith-based organizations, within the County when feasible,” according the department of public health.
Fresno, Kern, and San Joaquin counties do not require a face covering, according to county health department sites.
Ventura County recommends mask wearing though municipalities can require it. The city of Ojai requires employees and customers at essential businesses to wear face coverings.
While not required in Sacramento County, health officials look to an “if you can, you should” approach to face coverings, according to the county public information officer.
“In spite of recent re-openings, the virus risk is still here,” said Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of Health Services. “We have seen an increase in Covid cases and hospitalizations recently, in large part due to social gatherings, and to keep these cases down we need to remember to be sensible while we’re being sociable.”
These eight counties are among the top 15 most populous in the state.
California has at least 143,646 coronavirus cases including 4,940 deaths.