California to End Its Indoor Mask Mandate

COVID-19 Update

With the recent Omicron surge of COVID-19 easing, on Monday, February 7, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California would be ending its statewide indoor mask mandate on February 15, 2022.

The change will apply only to vaccinated individuals. Unvaccinated persons will still be required to wear masks in indoor settings; however, it is not clear how (or whether) this will be enforced. In addition, children and teachers will need to continue to wear masks in school, and masks will still be required at “mega events.”

According to a press release issued by the California Department of Public Health:

COVID-19 cases and the rate of community transmission have steadily decreased statewide since early January, and hospitalizations are either plateauing or declining in most regions of the state. Since California’s peak during the Omicron surge, the state has experienced a 65% decrease in case rates.

As with other state actions, cities and counties with their own mask mandates will not be impacted by the change in state policy. This includes Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles. In fact, in response to the governor’s announcement, L.A. County Director of Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer indicated that the county would keep its indoor mask requirements in place, given the ongoing high rate of transmission in the county. At the same time, on February 3, 2022, the Los Angeles city clerk certified for circulation a petition that would place an initiative on the November ballot forcing the city to repeal its proof of vaccination requirement for indoor public spaces.

Despite the state’s plan to generally ease masking requirements, other pandemic restrictions will remain in place, such as masking requirements in nursing homes and on public transit.

Manatt will continue to monitor statewide and local COVID-19 restrictions, health officer orders and other requirements that impact our clients.

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