California will maintain coronavirus mask mandate, other policies until June 15

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California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced that the state will maintain its mask mandate until June 15, at which point it will roll back most of its coronavirus limitations. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance last week to say that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear face masks due to the incredibly low chance of infection. Dozens of states embraced the new guidance, but California is set to resist any changes for the time being. 

Ghaly noted that the state had laid out a “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which is set to expire June 15, marking the full reopening of the state in most cases. 

Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, speaks during a news conference at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. California is monitoring 8,400 people who flew into its airports from Asia and their close contacts for possible infection from the novel coronavirus, Governor Gavin Newsom said. Photographer: Patrick Mouzawak/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Getty Images)

“There’s a great deal that is going to change on June 15, and we’ve been tracking to that date for quite some time,” Ghaly said during a press conference Monday. 

Ghaly highlighted progress in two “key” areas that have allowed the state to continue on its current timeline: The state has seen a low hospitalization rate, and vaccinations have continued at a steady clip. 

Currently, anyone over the age of 16 is eligible for a vaccination in California.

“People of all age groups have sufficient time to get vaccines, and current wait times are low,” Ghaly said. “We expect anyone interested or eligible will be able to get one.” 

The four week period will allow the state to continue increasing the number of vaccinations, as well as keep ahead of the switch.

The switch will see masks no longer necessary statewide except where businesses or private institutions see fit. 

California is currently the last full hold-out to easing restrictions, with New York and New Jersey aiming to start easing restrictions statewide starting May 19. 

California State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hesitancy to push ahead with similar acceptance of the CDC’s new guidelines. 

“Gavin Newsom says he doesn’t dispute the CDC’s new mask guidance but will nevertheless ignore it,” Kiley tweeted. “At least he no longer pretends to care about ‘science.'”

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