California State Governor Gavin Newsom announced in a Wednesday interview his plans to remove the state’s mask mandates beginning in the middle of June, letting residents go out in public with facial coverings.

Newsom said the high vaccination rates and the recent low number of coronavirus cases in the state allow people to go out without having to cover their faces. It is the governor’s first major indication that officials are planning to lift mask mandates in the populous region.

No Face Masks

However, the governor said people would still be required to wear face masks in large crowds or gatherings such as concerts. “Only in those massively large settings where people around the world, not just around the country, are convening and where people are mixing in real dense spaces. Otherwise, we’ll make guidance, recommendations, but no mandates and no restrictions in businesses large and small,” Newsom said.

Newsom’s recent announcement comes amid criticisms of his handling of the pandemic and a recall effort aimed at replacing him with another official. Many oppositions have already signed their names to run for the position, which would most likely be held later this year.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised their mask recommendations, allowing people to not wear face masks outside if they are alone or only with members of the same household whether or not they are vaccinated. They also said fully vaccinated individuals can go to outdoor gatherings and restaurants without covering their faces.

However, the agency still urges residents to wear masks for most indoor activities and when in large crowds. Several other regions, such as New York, have already revised their guidelines to implement the new announcement, NBC News reported.