California jobless rate 16.3% in May, down a bit from April (copy)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wears a face mask as he answers a reporter's question during a press conference in Sacramento on Friday.

The day after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced masks would be required in most public spaces, Kern County officials remained in the dark about how such an order would be enforced.

The order is potentially enforceable through a misdemeanor charge accompanied by a fine or worse, according to the state. Agencies like the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health could be in charge of ensuring compliance.

“This is a statewide requirement and flows from the same legal authority as all of the other state orders,” Corey Egel, acting deputy director for public affairs for the California Department of Public Health, said in an email. “Californians have done incredible work following those orders — saving lives in the process. We expect that will continue to be the case.”

Yet those in Kern County who may be charged with enforcing the order haven’t heard anything from the state after the initial announcement.

Lt. David Kessler, of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, said his agency hadn't seen the actual order from the governor’s office yet, but when it did, the Kern County Public Health Services Department would regulate and enforce it.

On Friday, county health department spokeswoman Michelle Corson said an update from the governor’s office outside of the order's initial announcement hadn't been received.

Other parts of the county also remained out of the loop.

“The State has provided no information on how they plan to enforce their order,” Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop wrote in an email. “The County will continue to reinforce through communication all State Public Health guidance issued for COVID-19, including the recent amended guidance for masks, with the public and all local industry.”

Mask-wearing is rapidly becoming a divisive topic among Kern County residents, with many choosing to forgo them while in public.

“I could be very wrong on this because we have friends and relatives who are conservative and Republican (and wear masks), but it seems to have divided itself a little bit along political lines,” said retired middle school teacher Steve Bass.

He said he wears a mask in public, but frequently observes others who choose not to.

“I’m all for masks,” he said. “I think it’s sensible, polite and the conscientious thing to do. I’m not going to get angry with somebody who doesn’t, but I just don’t understand why people are averse to it, because it’s not going to be over until we all help out and get rid of this stuff.”

While public health experts clearly say masks help reduce the risk of COVID-19 by stopping the spread of droplets that could be infected with the virus, the state health department says face coverings may actually increase risk if users reduce physical distancing and hand-washing while wearing them.

“Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing and washing hands and staying home when ill, but they may be helpful when combined with these primary interventions,” the department wrote in April.

The department said the best defense for COVID-19 is washing hands frequently, avoiding face touching, avoiding being around sick people and physical distancing.

The state’s new guidance allows for several exceptions, including children younger than 2. For the most part, though, the public is now required to wear face coverings in most situations.

The question remains, however, of potential consequences for those who refuse.

Sam Morgen can be reached at 661-395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @smorgenTBC.

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(9) comments

Masked 2020

.......oh Bako.....isn't this just like seatbelts and kids riding in pickup beds....Dullards will be Dullards... so very slow....were are we........119,000 and counting....are we trying for a million?... anti-maskers.....really?

Independent Voter

In other words, masks aren't going to provide a significant increase in safety. Ignorance.

Moardeeb

It's up to us. The imposter in the White House, who is already toast, can't lead by example. Shame them. Tell them they're endangering your life and others lives!

Restaurant owners, post it. No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.

Mask shaming works. 75% of Americans know masks work.

Every other country in the world knows. Only here, with an incompetent idiot as President and his booger eating followers are we not following science.

Independent Voter

Which science, Dweeb? The science from, March, April, May or June?

Moardeeb

First and foremost is the health externality when people choose not to wear masks. Masks don’t just offer protection to the wearers. They protect everyone else around them by controlling the source of the virus which travel as far as 6-10 feet when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Even a basic face-covering like a scarf provides some protection for everyone else in the vicinity. Wouldn’t such a requirement infringe on basic liberties? There’s an old saying about the reasonable boundaries of liberty: “Your freedom to wave your arms ends when your fist hits my nose.” Something similar is true when your infected droplets hit my nose.

Veritas

‘deeb, I see you are not correct, again. According to the latest from the CDC, cloth face coverings are pretty much only to protect others from the wearer. Read it carefully and try to comprehend what it says. As has been established by science, other than any N95 type masks, cloth face coverings offer very little protection to the wearer. The wording they use is “something is better than nothing”, and in this case not by much. You might want to tell Pelosi and Schumer that wearing surgical masks is a no-no and that these wont hide the whiskey fumes coming from the breath.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

"Only here, with an incompetent idiot as President and his booger eating followers are we not following science."

Good God, what are you, FIVE???

You constantly prove that Oscar Wilde was right, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.”

Moardeeb

Well it makes sense. It's hard for Trump supporters to eat their boogers with a mask on.

RubySue

I heard wearing masks is causing pleurisy is some people. I've had it, and I don't recommend it. I don't know how an illness can be politicized. I made an appointment at Good Samaritan for last Tuesday. Rolled up five minutes before my appointment time. Filled out a form. They stuck a swab up my nose, and on Wednesday, I got a negative result. Would that be a liberal or conservative policy?

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