California Temporarily Reimposes Statewide Mask Mandate

Amid a 47 percent increase in COVID-19 cases since the Thanksgiving holiday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Monday announced masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public settings irrespective of vaccination status. The public health order, issued by CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón, took effect on Wednesday and remains in place through January 15, 2022.

State officials noted the seven-day average case rate increased by almost half and hospitalizations have increased by 14 percent since the late November holiday. The increases in cases and hospitalizations, combined with the potential for a surge in Omicron variant cases, led CDPH to issue updated guidance in an attempt to prevent a winter peak.

In addition to the statewide mask mandate, CDPH updated requirements for attending mega events, including concerts and sporting events. Prior to attending an event, attendees will now require either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen COVID-19 test within one day of the event, or a negative PCR test within two days of the event. 

CDPH issued a new travel advisory, effective immediately, recommending that all travelers arriving in California test for COVID-19 within three to five days after arrival, regardless of vaccination status.

State health officials urged residents to receive their COVID-19 vaccine or booster, observe COVID-19 precautions, and remain vigilant against the virus. Vaccines and temporary measures, according to CDPH, will allow residents to spend the holidays together more safely.

Additional information on CDPH’s latest guidance announcements is available here.