The Coachella City Council passed an emergency ordinance Wednesday that requires the continued wearing of face coverings in public indefinitely.
The city is now added to the growing list of other Coachella Valley cities enacting their own rules when it comes to face coverings. That list currently also includes Cathedral City, La Quinta, Desert Hot Springs, and Palm Springs.
Mayor Steven Hernandez says this new ordinance replaces the recently rescinded county health order.
“We’re not ready to loosen up some of the requirements,” he said, explaining that the decision was made in part because Coachella has had some of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases in the valley.
Hernandez says that’s a reality reflected by the city’s many essential workers: “They’re either working in the agriculture industry a lot of them are still working in grocery stores. A lot of them are still active you know and so that is one of the reasons right that are cases continue to climb.”
The other reason, he says, is the city’s increased efforts when it comes to testing. “Naturally when you test more and you’re finding more cases the cases are going to go up.”
Face coverings are now required in all public settings in Coachella: in stores, on public transportation, when picking up food from restaurants, etc.
The ordinance also requires businesses to post a sign letting customers and workers know that face masks must be worn at all times. Businesses have been asked to refuse service to anyone not wearing a covering.
Hernandez says you don’t need one, however, when at home, in a car or when exercising outside if you’re maintaining social distance.
“We’re asking people to stay in your space and do your part to flatten the curve,” he said.