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Mandatory Face Covering Ordered in Mono County by Public Health Officer, Dr. Tom Boo, MD.

While this action on Friday, May 1st, by the Public Health Department in Mono County has been widely anticipated, it will be interesting to see if this public health order, that “face coverings are required to be worn by all individuals while in public spaces in Mono County,” will be respected by all, much less can be effectively enforced.

In other areas of the country, orders mandating wearing of masks in public have been vigorously protested…and as quickly rescinded by mayors and governors as being “unenforceable,” especially as “StayAtHome” orders are becoming less stringent in many places and with warmer weather bringing out more and more of the public outside.

Another problem found with public health orders on compulsory face coverings is that much of the public’s frustration and anger sometimes become directed at store employees, and escalate to threats. The employees feel that they are “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Many employees feel that they should not be expected to try to enforce any such order and that it should not become their job to do so. Some members of law enforcement have also expressed increasing concerns.

Many small business owners and some elements of the public are beginning to demand that businesses be allowed to reopen under specific guidelines to protect employees and customers. Those guidelines would most likely require both employees and customers to wear masks and maintain physical/social distancing within any business establishment.

Requirements, state to state, county to county and city to city have varied widely on compulsory face masks being worn by the public. Inyo County and Mono County residents have been remarkably compliant with public health orders issued thus far, a fact that many feel have kept the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases low by comparison to other more populated parts of the state.  On the other hand, it is the low numbers of cases in several rural counties in California that is driving the push to “reopen” businesses and allow greater freedom of movement and activities by the public.


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