Riverside County announced this week it was making the use of face masks mandatory outside the home. The directive came days after the county released an advisory that urged residents to cover their faces in public.

Riverside’s order was followed by similar directives out of San Bernardino County and the cities of Los Angeles and Carson. Los Angeles’ new face covering rule takes effect Friday at midnight.

Riverside health officials said they were surprised by the number of people walking around in public without face coverings in spite of recent guidelines. That prompted them to make the recommendations mandatory.

Confusion may stem in part from the original CDC guidelines which advised against the use of masks for the general public. Face coverings have also been hard to come by. Some people are sewing their own masks at home. If you can’t get your hand on one and can’t sew one yourself, experts recommend the use of a scarf or bandana.

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