California’s statewide mask mandate will remain in place for another month despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent recommendations, officials said on Monday.
While the CDC last week said fully vaccinated Americans can resume activities without a mask, the Golden State is waiting to line up with federal guidance and will not roll back the mask mandate for at least another month.
Health and Human Service Secretary Mark Ghaly suggested the delay will give Californians “time to prepare” for the change.
“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,” Ghaly said:
Along with fully reopening, CA will implement new CDC mask guidelines on 6/15.
Until then – masks indoors for everyone, masks outdoors if you are unvaccinated & can’t distance.
The next 4 weeks will give CA time to get more shots in arms.
The future is bright. Get vaccinated. https://t.co/XdZfkpnfxM
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) May 17, 2021
The state’s mask mandate has been in effect for nearly a year. Current state guidance allows vaccinated persons to forgo a mask outdoors “except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.”
“For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings,” the guidance states.
It also requires both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals to continue to wear a face-covering in indoor settings outside of one’s home.
Notably, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is not lifting the Garden State’s mask guidance despite the latest CDC guidelines due to fear of a spike in cases.
“I don’t want to get burned. I don’t want to go back. We’re the only state in America that has not gone back once and I don’t want to start now,” Murphy said Monday.
“I can’t speak for our neighbors, they’ve been great partners, but on this one we feel quite strongly,” he added.
Notably, Texas, which nixed its mask mandate earlier this year, did not experience a spike in cases after doing so. Florida, which never saw a statewide mask mandate, also continued to report fewer new cases of the Chinese coronavirus earlier this year as blue states continued to experience spikes despite their statewide orders.
According to California’s dashboard, over 34 million vaccine doses have been administered, and over 15.5 million Californians are considered “fully” vaccinated.