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  • Kevin Cleveland and Hannah Moon

California Mask Mandate

Yesterday, December 13, 2021, due to an increase in COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations after Thanksgiving and a concern that the trend will continue due to winter holidays, California state officials announced that the state will implement an indoor mask mandate starting tomorrow, December 15, 2021. This mandate expires on January 15, 2022.

The mandate requires Californians, irrespective of vaccine status, to wear masks when indoors at public places, affecting the roughly 50% of Californians not already under a county’s masking requirement. The mandate does not define what qualifies as an indoor public setting. There are exemptions for the following individuals: (i) children younger than two years old; (ii) individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask; (iii) individuals who are hearing impaired and need to see the mouth for communication; and (iv) individuals for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to their person related to their work as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

The state also updated the testing timeline for indoor mega-events, requiring those without proof of vaccination who are attending events with more than 1,000 people to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day (shortened from within 72 hours).

The California Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, noted that the state would not be telling Californians to refrain from traveling home for the holidays, but he encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and to try to spend time outside when socializing. The state is also recommending those who are traveling in or out of California get tested within three to five days.

If you have any questions about how to implement this new mandate, please contact the experts at Young, Cohen & Durrett, LLP at (916) 569-1700.

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