"Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered," Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a press conference on Thursday.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials issued a statewide order Thursday that requires Californians to wear a mask in high-risk settings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In issuing the newly released guidance, the California Department of Public Health cited what it described as a growing body of scientific research that shows that asymptomatic people can still spread the disease.
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"Science shows that face coverings and masks work," said Gov. Gavin Newsom. "They are critical to keeping those who are around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy."
As for why the governor took this action now, he said: "Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered - putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease. California's strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations."
In a Skype interview with Eyewitness News Thursday, Newsom reiterated his concern that as the state continues to reopen, more people are interacting with strangers and not wearing proper face coverings.
"We have many municipalities that require mandatory mask wearing, and people are simply not applying it," the governor said.
Newsom added that he believes the state is not even out of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic - even as many are already fearful of a second wave.
"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. 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," Newsom said.
The governor did not address how this new order will be enforced.
More information about the state's COVID-19 guidance can be found on the California Department of Public Health's Guidance website.
DEVELOPING: More details will be added to this report as they become available.