SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is calling on county leaders to make face coverings mandatory for residents as they take steps toward easing the stay-at-home order.

In a Facebook Live video Monday, Steinberg said the success of the region will depend on residents vigilantly following social distancing guidelines as more businesses are allowed to reopen.

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Steinberg suggested that masks become mandatory in the county to decrease the risk of spreading the virus as more people return to the public.

“The mask issue has been voluntary in Sacramento County and I understand that,” Steinberg said. “But as we transition and as we open back up, it is going to be even more important that when we are out in public that to have that extra layer of protection, not just for ourselves but for each other, and wear masks.”

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He believes requiring masks would allow the county to reopen more quickly and stay open, avoiding a spike that would prompt another shelter-in-place order.

“The worst scenario would be to open up in a way that was not fully cognizant of the continued risk and then to see a spike, a hospital surge, more people getting sick, more people dying,” Steinberg said. “Only to have a stay-at-home order reimbursed in an even stricter fashion and for a longer period of time.”

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Steinberg’s announcement came hours after Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will start peeling back some of stay-at-home guidelines later this week.

The governor announced at his daily press conference on Monday that the state will be moving into the second of four phases of reopening. The move will mean that many retail businesses that have closed due to the coronavirus stay-at-home order can reopen – with modifications.

The new guidelines, which Newsom said will be announced on Thursday, will mean that those businesses can start back up as early as Friday.

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Last week, Yolo County mask mandate went into effect. County health officials say face coverings will now have to be worn in all public settings where people will be interacting inside an enclosed setting – like during shopping, waiting in line inside a store, picking up food, riding the bus or rideshare, and going to the doctor’s office.

On Monday, the Yuba-County public health department allowed businesses, including restaurants, nail salons, gyms and tattoo shops, to reopen. All businesses in the counties must operate with “appropriate modifications,” which include social distancing requirements. Residents are also required to wear masks in public, but many seen Monday were not following the order.

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