State’s Mask Mandate Returns Amid Looming Omicron Surge
California has reinstated the indoor mask policy for all public indoor spaces statewide. The mandate takes effect Dec. 15 and will stay in effect until Jan. 15. It comes in response to a steep rise in COVID-19 infection rates.
There has been a 47% increase in COVID-19 cases across California since Thanksgiving. Daily new cases have jumped from 9.6 per 100,000 residents to over 14 per 100,000.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner expects “a whole non-compliance” with the mandate. But California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said “even a 10% increase in indoor masking can reduce case transmission significantly.”
Health experts in Orange County are warning of a winter surge fueled by the omicron variant.
“Every indication suggests that we could be headed into a very bad COVID winter. First, driven by Delta and then Omicron, I think, is going to take over very rapidly and potentially create a huge surge across the US,” UC Irvine epidemiologist Sanghyuk Shin told Voice of OC.
Orange County, San Diego, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley are among those impacted by the new mandate. Los Angeles, Ventura County, and most of the San Francisco Bay Area already had indoor masking requirements in place.