California to delay lifting mask order until mid-June
California will delay lifting its mask order until mid-June in an effort to give the public time to prepare for the new guidance.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said in a statement on Monday that beginning June 15, fully vaccinated Californians will be allowed to go without masks in most indoor settings, despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week saying that people who are fully vaccinated can safely resume life without restrictions.
Ghaly said the 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.”
Until June 15, California’s current masking guidelines will remain in place, Ghaly said. They require all individuals to wear masks while indoors.
Vaccinated Californians are not currently mandated to wear masks outdoors, while unvaccinated Californians are.
Ghaly added that California plans to fully reopen its economy on June 15.
He encouraged all Californians to get vaccinated to help keep infection and hospitalization rates low so the state can “return to the activities we love.”
“We urge all Californians to get vaccinated to ensure that infection and hospitalization rates remain low across the state and that we can all return to the activities we love,” Ghaly said in the statement.
California emerged as a hot spot throughout the pandemic, tracking the highest number of cases in the U.S., with more than 3.7 million infections, according to The New York Times.
The state also reported the most deaths, with more than 62,000, the Times reported.
According to the Los Angeles Times, California has administered more than 33.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. At least 50.8 percent of Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the paper noted.
Govs. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York and Charlie Baker (R) of Massachusetts announced rollbacks of COVID-19 restrictions on Monday.
Starting Wednesday, fully vaccinated New Yorkers will be allowed to go without masks in most places. Beginning May 29, fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts will no longer have to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors.
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