On December 13, 2021, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that California will reinstate an indoor mask mandate for all public settings. The mandate goes into effect on December 15, 2021 and will expire on January 15, 2022.
This reinstatement will affect approximately half of the California population that do not reside in counties that currently enforce indoor mask mandates.
Dr. Ghaly stated that one of the reasons for this temporary mandate is the fact that since Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases statewide have increased from 9.6 cases per 100,000 people per day to 14 cases per 100,000 people per day, a 47% increase.
The state mandate will be enforced regardless of a person’s vaccination status, and overrides local masking rules. So, localities that currently allow vaccinated persons to go unmasked in certain public establishments will now have to adopt the more stringent state mandate and require the wearing of face masks in public establishments.
The mandate also affects people attending events of 1,000 people or more (“mega-events”) where the event organizer does not require proof of vaccination. The event goer will now have to show proof of a negative test taken within 24 hours if an antigen test, or within 48 hours if it is PCR test. Previously the requirement was 72 hours.
Additionally, Health and Human Services recommends that travelers get tested for COVID-19 between three to five days after arriving in California.
California is one of only nine states that has issued an indoor masking requirement for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. The other states with similar mandates are Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut.