Masks again required in Coachella as council steps in after county’s decision

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COACHELLA (CNS) – Wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing in public in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus are again required in Coachella under a new emergency ordinance, Mayor Steven Hernandez said today.

The ordinance was enacted after county health orders mandating face covering, social distancing and other requirements were rescinded over the weekend following a vote by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

Riverside County had among the state’s strictest restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak before last week’s vote.

“Unfortunately, Coachella and the rest of the eastern valley remains a hotspot for coronavirus cases,” Hernandez said. “Until we can get this virus under control, our city will continue to require these reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of people living and working in Coachella.”

With 170 cases as of Wednesday afternoon, Coachella has the Coachella Valley’s second-highest coronavirus case total behind Indio, which has 172.

People are required to stay at least 6 feet apart at all times while in public.

The face covering order exempts children under 2 years old, and those who have a note from a medical professional advising patients to not wear a mask.

Wearing a face covering is not required while at home or in vehicles alone, or with others living in their household, Hernandez said.

Face coverings are also not required for people engaging in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking or running as long as people stay at least 6 feet apart, Hernandez said.

The ordinance will remain in effect until further notice.

Coachella joined Palm Springs on Wednesday and became the second Coachella Valley city to adopt requirements that had been included in health orders dropped following the Board of Supervisors vote.

County supervisors voted last week to ask county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser to rescind his orders mandating face coverings and social distancing while in public, along with restricting short-term rentals and regulating golf courses.

Kaiser followed suit over the weekend. He also removed vocational schools colleges, and universities from his order, which closed schools until June 19, while continuing the closures of other schools including elementary, middle and high schools.