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13 Dec, 2021 23:46

Californians ordered to mask up into new year

Californians ordered to mask up into new year

Citing the rising number of coronavirus cases, California has reimposed an indoor mask mandate and will require the unvaccinated to show negative tests before entering enclosed venues with 1,000 people or more.

Californians will have to cover up in indoor venues from Wednesday and at least through January 15, state health officials announced on Monday. Moreover, those without proof of vaccination who wish to enter an indoor venue with 1,000 or more people will need to show a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours, or a rapid antigen test taken within the past day.

“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state secretary of health and human services, said on Monday, announcing the mandate. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked.”

Since Thanksgiving, California has seen an uptick in case numbers, from 9.6 cases per 100,000 daily to more than 14, Ghaly said. The mandate was being implemented “proactively” in order to “ensure we get through a time of joy and hope without a darker cloud of concern and despair,” he added.

Californians have done this before. And we of course believe we can do it again.

California Governor Gavin Newsom officially lifted the statewide mask mandate for the vaccinated on June 15, but Los Angeles and most of the San Francisco Bay Area have reimposed countywide mandates since then, affecting about half the state’s population. 

While acknowledging there will be people who will not mask because they are “tired” or disagree, Ghaly said he hoped they would be “few and far between” and that most will see this as a way to protect their communities.