Face coverings encouraged in San Bernardino County but no longer required

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A woman holds a mask in this file photo. (Getty Images)

A woman holds a mask in this file photo. (Getty Images)

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Wearing a facial covering in public remains strongly recommended in San Bernardino County but is no longer required, officials announced Friday.

Businesses, however, may still require their workers and customers to wear masks to avoid spread of COVID-19, said Curt Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

The county eased the rules after the board requested a repeal of a health order that mandated facial coverings when residents leave their home.

In a news release Friday, Hagman said lifting the county health orders, which were less restrictive than the state’s, will let local businesses reopen more quickly.

The county also said social distancing requirements inside essential businesses and a ban on gatherings and on short-term rentals will no longer be regulated under a local order. But residents have to continue observing those rules under the state’s stay-at-home rules, according to the county.

San Bernardino County officials made the announcement as the state began to allow the limited reopening of nonessential businesses while coronavirus cases stabilize in California. It’s the second phase of a four-stage reopening plan Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out.

County authorities planned to discuss their “readiness and reopening plan” at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

As of Friday, San Bernardino County has reported 111 COVID-19 deaths, up 2.8% from the day before. The county has reported a total of 2,629 cases, a 2.6% daily increase.

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