SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California won’t lift its mask requirement until June 15 to give the public time to prepare and ensure cases stay low.
State Health Director Dr. Mark Ghaly said Monday that a four-week delay will allow businesses time to make adjustments and more people to get vaccinated.
“This four week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,” he said.
Many other states lifted their mask requirements last week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to skip face coverings and social distancing in most situations.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom already has said that if cases remain low the state will drop nearly all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15.
California’s rules say people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not need to wear a mask outdoors unless they are attending crowded gatherings.
But the state has said they still must wear masks indoors unless they are meeting with other vaccinated people. The state has other rules for businesses and other public places that vary by county under its color-coded tier system, which is based on the prevalence of the virus.
The federal agency’s guidelines, issued Thursday, similarly say people should wear masks in crowded indoor locations like airplanes, buses, hospitals and prisons.
Don Thompson, The Associated Press