Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the emerging end to California’s statewide indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on Feb.15, nearly two years after it was first implemented.
This comes after a 65 percent drop in COVID-19 cases since the peak of the Omicron surge that ripped through the United States last winter. About 20 percent of the state’s population remains unvaccinated and will be required to wear masks in indoor public settings, according to Newsom.
Face coverings have been a requirement for public spaces in California since June 2020. It remains unclear whether San Diego county will follow state guidance, though Los Angeles County and the Bay Area may keep masking mandates in place.
State health officials say they are continuing to evaluate the masking requirement for schoolchildren.
According to state officials, “mega-events” with over 1,000 people will require vaccinations or negative tests for those attending, and those who are unvaccinated will be required to wear masks. Outdoor events with over 10,000 people in attendance will not require vaccinations, but masks and negative test results are recommended.
The announcement comes shortly after the state hosts the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
The masking mandate was re-introduced in mid-December as the Omicron variant began to surge, and it was extended last month through Feb.15. The state recorded over 80,000 pandemic deaths and 8 million confirmed positive cases last week but new cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions continue to decline.
San Diego County health officials reported 4,954 additional cases on Monday, bringing cumulative totals to 715,076 cases and 4,811 deaths. Hospitalizations dropped by 32 patients in the county and there were six fewer in intensive care units compared to Sunday.
Nearly 2.88 million, or 91.4 percent of San Diego County residents age 5 and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.53 million, or 80.4 percent, are fully vaccinated.
A total of 1,072,823 San Diego County residents who are fully vaccinated have received a booster shot, according to the HHSA. Boosters are currently available for everyone 12 years and older.