SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Days after resigning, Orange County’s chief health officer Dr. Nichole Quick’s face mask order is expected to be modified, according to O.C. Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.
Quick resigned on Monday night after she had been facing threats and protests at her home due to her health guidelines that required O.C. residents to wear face coverings in public whenever they cannot maintain six feet of physical distancing.
Bartlett said Quick’s temporary replacement, O.C. Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau, is expected to put a new order in place on Thursday that makes wearing face coverings “strongly recommended” rather than required, with some exceptions.
Bartlett said she wants to keep masks required for grocery stores and other retail businesses.
“I want to keep that in effect not only to protect the public but the workers,” Bartlett said. “There are certain businesses where you can’t do the six feet of social distancing.”
Chau on Tuesday defended Quick’s mask order, which was issued on May 23 as county officials received permission from the state to reopen some business operations, including in-person dining and in-person shopping.
Quick said she issued the mandate out of an abundance of caution as stay-at-home orders were being lifted and more people would be in contact with each other.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends face coverings for “people older than 2 years of age in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” The exemption includes people younger than 2 years old and “anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”
As of Wednesday, Orange County has reported 147 new coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths, bringing the county’s total to 7,737 cases and 198 deaths.