Anyone stepping outside in San Jose better mask up.
As of this week, face coverings are now mandatory in the South Bay’s largest city. The rule adopted earlier this week by the City Council mirrors that of Santa Clara County, which enacted its own mandate a few weeks prior.
The San Jose council adopted the requirement—proposed last month by Vice Mayor Chappie Jones and Councilman Sergio Jimenez—in a 10-1 vote Tuesday. District 9 Councilwoman Pam Foley was the only one who opposed the policy.
The ordinance defines face coverings as cloth, shields, T-shirts or other fabrics that masks nose and mouth. Under the new rules, people must wear masks while inside business, obtaining healthcare, engaging in infrastructure work or using public transit.
City Attorney Rick Doyle noted that the main difference between the city’s law and the county’s is that San Jose also requires masks for anyone standing in line at the store.
Denizens will not expected to wear a mask while exercising.
“This ordinance is not going to require you to wear a face cover when you go to your mailbox, when you go hiking or ride your bike or when you’re by yourself,” Jones assured. “It only applies when you’re in a group of people and you’re not a safe distance away from those people that you would be required to wear a face mask.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said the new rule is “imperative” to safely reopen the economy. Earlier this week, health officials announced that outdoor dining and indoor retail would be allowed to commence starting Friday. “I really do believe that we’ve got to give everyone every tool possible to insure we can manage and reduce the potential spread that we can get people back to work,” the mayor said.
As for Foley, she explained that while she supports wearing face coverings in public, she had concerns about the policy’s enforceability. “As important as I think a mask is, and how I have my own personal choice about wearing a mask, I’m hesitant to implement another law that the SJPD will have to enforce—even though I know they have said they’re not going to enforce it” she said.
Studies have shown that wearing face covering can lessen the amount of aerosol droplets expelled when a person breathes or coughs. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initially advised against masks for the general public, health officials changed that guidance in early April after finding evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic people as well.