California Ending Indoor Mask Mandate for Vaccinated Folks, Gov. Gavin Newsom Says

by Maria Hartfield

Fully vaccinated California residents can look forward to no longer wearing masks indoors starting next week. Health officials announced the news on Monday after the recent decrease in omicron cases. The current mask mandate is to expire on February 15.

Most indoor facilities won’t require masks. However, some cities and counties may still require them if they decide to keep their current mandates in place. Those who are unvaccinated will still need to wear a mask indoors.

Additionally, students and school staff members must continue to wear masks indoors at K-12 schools after the current mandate comes to an end. According to health officials, they are working “with education, public health, and community leaders to update masking requirements at schools to adapt to changing conditions and ensure the safety of kids, teachers, and staff.”

Some locations such as public transportation and long-term care facilities may still require masks indoors. The surge in COVID-19 cases averaged around 120,000 new infections a day beginning in mid-January. Now, we’re seeing about a 65% decrease, according to Fox News.

States Announce New Guidance Face Mask

The California Department of Public Health published a new guidance for the use of face masks on Monday stating: “The current hospital census is still overcapacity, but the dramatic surge in cases and hospitalizations due to the highly infectious Omicron variant over the last two months has declined significantly.”

“Californians are also increasingly knowledgeable about how to protect themselves and their loved ones with effective masks when there may be risk of COVID-19 exposure,” the department added. “Accordingly, it is now appropriate for the universal indoor masking requirement to expire on February 15, 2022, as scheduled.”

The state did away with the mask mandate for vaccinated people in June 2021. However, they ended up reinstating again on December 15 due to the increase in omicron cases.

Some states are making changes to their mask mandates

California isn’t the only state making changes. New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut confirmed on Monday they will no longer continue to require students and staff members to wear masks in school.

Barbara Ferrer, Public Health Director for the County of Los Angeles made an announcement last week stating her department won’t alter its current mask mandate until after they reach two straight weeks of less than 50 new cases per 100,000 people. Currently, the district of LA is at 117 cases per 100,000.

Football fans will still need to wear masks during this weekend’s Super Bowl event at SoFi Stadium in LA County. After all, the new mask regulations don’t go into effect until February 16, 2022.

Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti were seen among other California leaders without masks during the 49ers vs. Rams game at SoFi Stadium on January 30.