Two days ago, Riverside County advised residents to wear optional face coverings. Now, things have changed. With the threat of COVID-19 in California, precautions have become more severe. Sherrif Chad Bianco warned that those who leave home without covering their face could receive fines and even jail time.
This new order went into effect April 5 at midnight.
It expanded on the stay at home order given by California Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19.
In a video statement, Sheriff Bianco said, "this new order [also] prohibits public and private gatherings of any size and requires all persons to wear coverings over their faces."
He also noted the order was enforceable by imprisonment, a fine, or both.
CBS Los Angeles reports those in violation of the new order could receive fines up to $1,000 per day.
Bianco also added that residents should not call 911 for potential violations. The line needs to be saved for emergency assistance.
Deputies will not be enforcing marshall law or setting up a police state. Neither will Riverside County police officers will be going out of their way to ticket those who are not wearing masks.
The objective of the order is to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"This virus is extremely contagious and is being spread by otherwise healthy people. Many infected individuals who are testing positive exhibit no signs of infection or illness," Bianco said.
Important update from our Riverside County Public Health Officer. https://t.co/d1o6VT7Vuj https://t.co/p2wkYvufBS— Riverside County Sheriff's Dept (@Riverside County Sheriff's Dept) 1586059273
He went on to say, "However, those individuals are spreading the disease to others who could develop mild to severe symptoms extreme enough to cause death."
It is recommended that residents stay at home unless there is an emergency or it is absolutely necessary.
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The Riverside County Public Health website says there are 946 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths as of April 7. Sixty people have recovered in the area.