California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday that he issued a new order requiring the state’s residents to wear a mask in outside their homes, NPR reports.
“Californians are now REQUIRED to wear face coverings in public spaces,” he tweeted. “Together -- we can slow the spread. Do your part. Wear a mask.”
The order applies to any situation where physical distancing is impossible.
Children under two are exempt, as are people who are eating or drinking at restaurants and people with medical conditions that prevent wearing a facemask.
The order came after the state’s Department of Health issued new guidance saying that the “use of face coverings by everyone can limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing, and/or sneezing, as well as reinforce physical distancing."
Cases on the rise:
The order also comes as California, which appeared to have flattened the curve early, saw cases increase in recent weeks.
"Our numbers are going up, not going down. Hospitalization numbers are just starting to creep back up, and I'm very concerned by what we're seeing,” Newsom said on Thursday. “We think the most impactful thing we can do, short of going back to a stay-at-home order, is wearing face coverings when we can't practice physical distancing.”
"We have many municipalities that require mandatory mask wearing, and people are simply not applying it,” he added.
It is unclear how the order will be enforced.
New York and Michigan have also issued statewide orders requiring masks in public spaces.
Republicans, meanwhile, have pushed back on the idea of masks.
“The president ... allowed for the possibility that some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventative measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him,” The Wall Street Journal reported after an interview with the president.