LOS ANGELES – For Californians venturing outside, donning a mask will be as common as putting on a cap or sunglasses when the state begins gradually easing stay-at-home orders on Friday. But rules about face coverings vary from county to county, and it's unclear what enforcement might look like.
Masks have been ubiquitous at essential businesses like grocery stores and medical clinics since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. On the sidewalks of dense cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, people have been wearing masks for weeks, giving wide berth to the small number of others whose faces aren't covered.
Now masks will be required for customers and employees at certain retailers reopening under new guidelines that also include contact-free transactions, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.
At Sam's, a corner store near San Francisco's City Hall, multiple signs remind patrons to cover their faces, and the clerks have been known to kick out people who don't do so. Some customers simply lift their T-shirts over their nose and mouth while running in for a quick purchase.
Mayor London Breed said city residents must continue to wear face coverings and follow social distance requirements when waiting in line at newly opened businesses like florists or bookstores.
Dannie Holzer said she wears a cloth mask most of the time but took it off while eating her lunch at nearby Alamo Square Park, where she was able to keep the required six feet (1.8 meters) from others.
“I wear it because I respect other people, and I don’t know what immune deficiencies they may have,” Holzer said. She got used to wearing masks because she rides public buses, where they are required, on her way to and from her job at a marijuana dispensary.
Holzer said she gets frustrated when sees people with their faces uncovered inside a store.