Not to be outdone by the federal government, the state of California and it's top public health officials have decided to implement and even more restrictive indoor masking mandate than the CDC unveiled yesterday. The LA Times reports that California is urging everybody - whether fully vaccinated or not - to mask up indoors when in public.
The new guidelines, issued Wednesday by Dr. Tomas Aragon, the director of California's Department of Public Health, are more expansive than the federal guidance because the CDC is only requiring people to wear masks indoors in places where community transmission is considered "substantial" or "high". But California's order is statewide, asking for all residents to mask up when indoors until the guidance is adjusted. To be sure, roughly 90% of Californians currently live in areas that fall under those designations, according to the LAT.
“This adds an extra precautionary measure for all to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, especially in communities currently seeing the highest transmission rates,” the guidance states.
Here's a rundown of the new requirements in California:
Masks are required for all individuals in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status:
- On public transit (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)
- Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare
- Emergency shelters and cooling centers
Masks are required for all individuals, in the following indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status (and surgical masks are recommended):
- Healthcare settings
- State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
- Homeless shelters
- Long Term Care Settings & Adult and Senior Care Facilities
Additionally, masks are required* for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public).
Over the last week, Cali has reported an average of nearly 7,400 new coronavirus cases a day, 8x the rate from four weeks ago. On Monday, 3,200 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide, with 720 of them in intensive care, numbers that have doubled in the past two weeks.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has already ordered all state employees to show proof they have been vaccinated, or submit to regular COVID tests by the beginning of August while also being required to wear masks at work. Newsom called his state's projections "sobering" during a news conference earlier this week.
LA County became the first major city in the US to revive masking for the vaccinated earlier this month. In addition to to strict requirements being imposed by the state, tech companies are reevaluating their own mask and vaccination requirements (now that the federal government has given employers the green light to "incentivize" employees to get vaccinated). Apple announced earlier that it would require masks at most stores for buyers and staff. And Netflix just announced strict requirements, including demanding that all actors on its sets are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned earlier that the surge in cases caused by the delta variant will likely subside in two or three weeks, following a pattern seen in Europe, the UK and India.