New indoor mask mandate up in California

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All California residents, vaccinated or not, are required by the state to use masks indoors again, as reported by SFGATE.

California Health and Human Services announced the requirement through a news release, noting the COVID-19 case surge since Thanksgiving. The said mandate will start on Dec. 15, Wednesday, at least through Jan. 15, and will cover indoor venues.

Indoor mask mandates have been in place in a number of counties like San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Napa in the Bay Area. Los Angeles also has the same mandate.

Recently, the mask mandate was removed by Marin County, which said that it will depend on hospitalization data instead of case rates to set pandemic policy, citing its high vaccination rate.

“We think it’s important at this stage to reorient what we’re most concerned about, which is severe illness and death,” Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County health officer said. “Cases are increasingly mild, so we have shifted towards a more benign form of COVID-19 infection and disease based on vaccination rates.”

Mask mandates on other counties in California that post the same vaccination rates had a minimal impact during the hit of the delta variant wave, according to an analysis by SFGATE from the summer.

At present, 64.8 percent of the California population has received the full COVID-19 vaccine.

Any exemptions established by the counties into their mask policies will be overruled by the newly-announced mandate.

“To align with California‚Äôs requirements, San Francisco is suspending its current mask exemption for stable cohorts of 100% vaccinated individuals (which includes certain work settings, gyms, and other select locations) until the state order is lifted, currently set for January 15,” part of the statement by the San Francisco department of health said.

Unvaccinated attendees on “mega-events” that gather over 1, 000 people are also required to show their negative virus antigen test within 24 hours of the event, and within 24 to 48 hours of PCR test.