Vaccinated Californians will no longer have to wear masks in most indoor settings next week as the omicron surge recedes, health officials announced Monday.
Unvaccinated people will still have to wear masks indoors and some cities and counties may also keep their mandates in place.
Students and staff at K-12 schools will also still be required to wear masks after the current mandate expires on Feb. 15. The California Department of Public Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment on when the mask mandate for schoolchildren will be lifted.
Certain other places, like public transportation and long-term care facilities, will also still require masks indoors.
COVID-19 cases have fallen about 65% from the peak of about 120,000 new infections on average a day in mid-January.
“The current hospital census is still over capacity, but the dramatic surge in cases and hospitalizations due to the highly infectious Omicron variant over the last two months has declined significantly,” the California Department of Public Health wrote in the new guidance issued Monday.
“Californians are also increasingly knowledgeable about how to protect themselves and their loved ones with effective masks when there may be risk of COVID-19 exposure,” the department added. “Accordingly, it is now appropriate for the universal indoor masking requirement to expire on February 15, 2022 as scheduled.”
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California originally lifted its mask mandate for vaccinated individuals last June, but implemented it again on Dec. 15 amid the omicron surge and extended it last month.
Earlier on Monday, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut announced that they were ending mask mandates for students and staff in schools.
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that her department will keep its indoor mask mandate in place until it has two straight weeks of less than 50 new cases per 100,000 people. LA County is currently at 117 cases per 100,000.
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The mask mandate will still be in place during the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in LA County.
Gov. Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti came under fire after being photographed at the 49ers-Rams at SoFi Stadium on Jan. 30.