Welcome to the age of face coverings.

We feared this would happen when the businesses started to open up, although we agree it’s essential to slow the precipitous plunge of the economy.

Gov. Gavin Newsom laid down the law, insisting that all California wear a mask in public and even indoors. If you can’t stay six feet away from your coworkers, you must wear a mask.

When Newsom saw an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, he put both of them on the watch list — meaning we could be going backward in this painful process. The last thing we want is to close the reopenings we have enjoyed so far.

All Californians should heed the words of COVID19.CA.GOV: “Wearing a face covering can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the release of infectious particles into the air. Wearing a face covering also reinforces physical distancing, and shows you care about the health of others.”

It seems so simple, but we’ve seen far too many people on the streets of Redlands without a mask and far too many too close together in various settings, such as the peaceful protests.

The numbers on San Bernardino County’s COVID-19 dashboard confirm the governor’s conclusions. On the Hospital Census page it confirms that the number of confirmed positive cases in hospitals increased from 261 to 270, or 3.4%. Even scarier is the number of suspected cases in county hospitals increased from 57 to 71 — almost 30%.

And while the number of deaths in Redlands held steady for the week at 37 — still the highest in the county — the number of confirmed cases rose from 343 to 419, a 24% increase.

According to Redlands spokesman Carl Baker, Redlands police will enforce the face mask and physical distancing rules. But we don’t expect you’ll get a ticket. The goal is voluntary compliance, he said.

However, the city’s Code Enforcement Division will investigate complaints regarding businesses failing to adhere to public health guidelines.       

So, don’t leave home without your mask.