June 19, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
After seeing the highest daily total of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued an executive order that requires all California residents to wear face coverings while in public, including when shopping, taking public transit or seeking medical care.
"Wearing face coverings in public slows the spread of COVID-19 and saves lives. The [executive order] sends a clear message to Californians that wearing face coverings in public is an important public safety measure that will slow the transmission of the coronavirus, and make it more likely our state can stay on a path toward reopening,” said CMA President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D.
The order explicitly states that masks must be worn when obtaining services from the health care sector in settings including, but not limited to hospitals, pharmacies, medical clinics, labs, blood banks, dental offices and physician practices.
"We hope this order will offer some support and protection for local public health officers who have been placed in untenable situations in counties across California, coming under attack for simply doing what science tells us is necessary to protect public health,” said Dr. Bretan.
Over the past three months, public health officials in cities and counties across California have been subject to unfair and uninformed attacks and have become political targets amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most recently, Orange County Public Health Office Nichole Quick, M.D., resigned last week after being subject to threats and protests at her home related to a countywide mask order.
“The job these public servants perform is critical to the well-being of communities across California, and we must continue to stand up to those who reject science and try to bully or harass local health officers for their own cynical political ends.”
The statewide mask order is a reminder that the COVID-19 crisis is not over. We must continue to have a coordinated state and local response to this pandemic, and support public officials at the state and local level who are doing everything they can to keep Californians safe.