California will maintain mask mandate until reopening date

California will maintain the existing mask mandate until the state’s planned reopening date on June 15, state health officials said Monday.


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This announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced people who are fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor locations. 

California is following the lead of other western states — like Washington and California — but is waiting until the state’s planned reopening date to lift mask mandates. Dr. Mark Ghaley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said this period will allow more people to become fully vaccinated.

“On June 15, California plans to implement the CDC’s guidelines around masking to allow fully vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings. This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change while we continue our relentless focus on delivering vaccines, particularly in underserved communities.”

Ghaley said infection and hospitalization rates remain low, but asks that Californians continue to get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.

“[This] allows a number of Californians who may be eligible to get vaccinated but were considering waiting a little longer, now that they see there will be less masking in our communities, they may decide this is the week to get vaccinated.” 

Until June 15, masking rules will remain in place in the state, masks are required in indoor settings outside the home, and vaccinated people do not have to wear masks outdoors except in crowded settings.

California often adopts CDC recommendations. The state adopted the CDC guidance permitting vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most outdoor settings. This rule went into effect May 3. 

Sacramento and San Diego County told State of Reform that the county would continue to follow the state mask mandate. 

Vaccines are up to 95% effective at preventing moderate illness, and about 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Experts have also said the vaccines are effective at stopping transmission of the virus. 

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or after a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

As of Monday, about 15.1 million Californians — or 39% of the population — had been fully vaccinated.