As California rapidly reopens its economy, health officials have made clear the only way to avoid a wave of new coronavirus infections is with strict safety rules, including social distancing, limits on the capacity of businesses and wearing face coverings when around other people.
But a mask rebellion is underway in some parts of the state, with residents pushing back on mandatory face-covering rules even with coronavirus cases on the rise and as more businesses open their doors and some people yearn to return to old routines.
The potency of mask politics became clear this week in Orange County, where the health officer resigned after weeks of attacks — and a death threat — over her mandatory mask rules. Her replacement on Thursday rescinded the rules amid intense pressure from the Board of Supervisors.
Instead, Orange County “strongly recommends” wearing masks in public settings, and the county’s top health official was left to explain the change even while acknowledging face coverings could prevent more deaths.
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