Riverside County health officials order residents to stay home, cover face when leaving during COVID-19 pandemic

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Health officials on Saturday ordered residents in Riverside County to stay home and cover their faces when leaving during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser issued the order in response to "the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases" and ordered that no gatherings of any number of people can take place other than family members living in the same home, according to a statement.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

Dr. Kaiser also ordered everyone to wear a face-covering when leaving home, including essential workers. Face coverings can be bandanas, scarves, neck gaiters or other clothing that does not have visible holes. Residents should not purchase N95 or surgical masks, as these limited resources are needed for the healthcare community and first responders.

“While more and more Riverside County residents are getting COVID-19, not everybody’s getting the message,” Dr. Kaiser said.

“It started with staying home, social distance and covering your face. But now we change from saying that you should to saying that you must.”

RELATEDCoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates.

The purpose of this order is to encourage compliance with these important measures that have been implemented to flatten the curve. Law enforcement agencies throughout the county have the authority to enforce these orders as they deem necessary, the statement said.

“We have already lost two of our deputies to this virus. I am asking all of you to honor them by staying at home,” said Sheriff Chad Bianco.

The order remains in effect through April 30.