SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA — A public health order requiring San Diego County residents to wear face coverings went into effect Friday. The order, which was announced last Friday, makes face coverings mandatory in public settings as officials slowly ease restrictions while still working to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

All residents are now required to wear a face-covering in public when they leave their homes and are within 6 feet of non-household members. Face coverings will be required until further notice, county officials said.

“When you wear a face covering, you protect those around you,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “When others use a face covering, they protect you.”

Residents must wear face coverings in public settings, such as waiting in line to go inside a store, shopping in a store, picking up food at a restaurant, waiting for or riding on public transportation, riding in a taxi or ride service vehicle, seeking health care, going into facilities allowed to stay open, and working an essential job that interacts with the public.

Residents are not required to wear face coverings at home, in a car alone or with members of the same household, when advised by a medical doctor, and when swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running provided there is social distancing. Children under 2 years old should not wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.

“People must have a face-covering readily accessible to put on in populated areas to avoid droplet spread in a 6 feet radius when participating in any type of active recreation,” Wooten said.

According to the order, businesses must require employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face-covering at work and when working off-site. Businesses must also inform customers about wearing face covering, including posting signs and advising people inline or in the store. Finally, businesses must refuse service to anyone not wearing a face covering.