SACRAMENTO (Calif.) — California has reinstated a rule requiring people wear masks indoors. This is a move to contain a new coronavirus type as holiday gatherings bring together family and friends.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has announced that the mandate will be in effect from Wednesday through January 15. This order comes at a time when California’s per capita coronavirus cases have risen 47% over the past two weeks.
“We know that people are hungry for normalcy and tired. “Frankly, I’m too,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California Health and Human Services, said Monday. “This is a crucial time when we have a tool we know works and can work.
California’s statewide mandate to remove masks from people who have been vaccinated was lifted on June 15, which Newsom hailed as the state’s grand reopening. As the number of cases rose with new variants, indoor mask mandates have been imposed by county governments that cover about half of California’s population.
Although the new mandate for masks will apply to everyone, state officials were unclear on Monday about how it would be implemented. Ghaly stated that enforcement will likely be stronger in certain places than elsewhere, but he advised Californians not to ignore the warnings and to wear masks.
Ghaly stated that “We know there will be people who don’t necessarily agree with this, are tired, and who aren’t going to hide.” “We hope those people are few and far between and that most people will see the purpose for doing this over the next month in a way that protects them and their communities during very difficult times.”
Newsom issued many other coronavirus mandates including requiring state workers, healthcare workers, and soon public school students, and teachers to get vaccinated. California’s emergency declaration issued by Newsom at the start of the pandemic is still in effect. Until Newsom removes the emergency declaration or the state Legislature votes it out, it will continue in effect.
Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley ran against Newsom in a failed recall election earlier in the year. He repeatedly tried to get the Democratic-dominated Legislature, but was unsuccessful, to end the state’s emergency declaration.
Kiley stated that “people are extremely frustrated with the idea that these decisions should be made by one individual rather than the way our country and state are supposed work, which is all of us having a say in making choices for ourselves.” “Gavin Newsom’s actions go beyond anything any other governor has done.
California joins Washington, Oregon and other states that have similar indoor mask mandates. Governor. Jared Polis, Colorado, told Colorado Public Radio last Wednesday that the “emergency is over” and that “public health (officials), don’t get permission to tell people what they should wear.”
Officials fear a repeat last winter’s epidemic, which saw more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the state during a massive winter surge that caused nearly 20,000 deaths over eight weeks.
However, this surge occurred before vaccines were made. More than 70% of Californians who are eligible for the vaccine have been fully vaccinated. Despite the recent rise in cases, there are still an average of 14 cases per 100,000 people.
Ghaly stated that hospitals in many counties with low vaccination rates still struggle with a lot of patients. This includes parts of Southern California, San Bernardino and Mono counties. Ghaly said that coronavirus hospitalizations can increase in the weeks after a spike in new cases.
Ghaly stated that “We are proactive putting this tool for universal indoor masking into public settings to ensure we get through joy and hope without any darker clouds of concern or despair.” “Californians have done it before and we believe we can do this again,” Ghaly said.
California is also tightening its testing requirements. It requires that anyone who attends indoor events with 1,000 or more people to be negative tested within one to two days depending on the type. California is also encouraging travelers to have their blood tested within five days of arriving in California.