As coronavirus cases rise, California is reimposing a statewide indoor mask mandate that goes into effect Wednesday. The mandate will remain in place until January 15.
The state has experienced a 47 percent increase in coronavirus cases since Thanksgiving. Hospitalizations are up about 15 percent for the same time period. There is also some concern about the Omicron variant.
“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy, frankly I am too,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said on Monday, CNBC reports. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.”
State public health officials also suggest that tourists visiting California or residents returning to the state test for COVID-19 three to five days before their arrival.
If you plan on attending an indoor event with more than 1,000 attendees and cannot provide proof of vaccination, prepare to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. A PCR taken within two days of the event or an antigen test taken within one day will be accepted.
Ghaly says there is evidence that masking makes a difference. “Even a 10% increase in indoor masking can reduce case transmission significantly,” he said. He believes wearing a mask will be essential to curve the spread during the winter surge.
California’s announcement came on the same day New York’s indoor mask mandate took effect. The only exceptions will be if the business has a vaccine requirement in place. Like California’s mandate, New York’s will also remain in effect until January 15.