SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Starting Friday, May 1, San Diego County is requiring people to wear facial coverings when in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order says residents are required to wear a face covering (coverings include a mask, bandanna, scarf or even a T-shirt) in public settings and within six feet of other people who are not a part of their household when:
- Waiting in line to go inside a store;
- Shopping in a store;
- Picking up food at a restaurant;
- Waiting for or riding on San Diego public transportation;
- Riding in a taxi or rideshare vehicle;
- Within San Diego International Airport;
- Seeking healthcare;
- Going into facilities allowed to stay open; and
- Working an essential job that interacts with the public;
Instances facial coverings will not be required include:
- When residents are at home;
- When residents are in the car alone or with members of the same household;
- For children under the age of 2 years old due to the risk of suffocation;
- During individual physical activity such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling or running. However, people must comply with social distancing during these activities, including maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from other people. Therefore, people must have a face covering readily accessible to put on in populated areas to avoid droplet spread in a six feet radius when participating in any type of active recreation except with members of the same household; and
- For residents with a health condition whose medical doctor has advised against wearing a face covering and can provide documentation
The county adds that businesses must require their workers to wear face coverings at the workplace and when performing work off-site, inform customers about the mandate and post signage, and refuse service to anyone not wearing a face covering.
While it would be difficult for law enforcement to make sure individuals are adhering to the mandate, anyone who chooses not to wear a face covering and is caught violating the order can be cited and denied access to businesses, transit, and recreational areas, the order says.
"When you're in public without a facial covering, an officer will contact you, asking you to put it on," San Diego Police Chief, David Nisleit said, in a city press conference. "[They'll] give you the education of why is required, based on the public health order."
10News spoke to many MTS riders at the Old Town Transportation Center, abiding by the new public health order.
"Just to have something to cover your face just makes everybody feel more comfortable," rider Tolanda said. "Because from one day to the next, we can't tell who has it and who doesn't."
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In addition to Friday's facial covering requirement, residents are also required to continue staying home whenever possible, physically distancing from other people, and using other health measures like frequent hand washing, sanitizing, and staying home when sick.