California Begins Lifting Mask Mandate, Counties Following But Some Are Not

Written by William Hekman

California is beginning to move away from its mask mandate for indoor settings, with the mandate set to expire on February 15th. With the state moving away from its mandate, counties that had their own mandate have begun the process of lifting their mandates. 

In San Diego County, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ask the state Department of Public Health to put forth a “safe and responsible path” for phasing out mask requirements for K-12 students. Republican Supervisor Jim Desmond says that this is long overdue but he is glad that it is moving forward, “I’ve been advocating this for a long time and I think this is a good opportunity as hopefully we’re unwinding to get this mandate off the kids” said Desmond in a KUSI interview. Desmond hopes that the end of the students mask mandate will come at the same time as the end of the state mandate on February 15th. He also stated that we have learned who to protect and how to protect in the event of another variant, saying we should protect the eldery and immuno-compromised individuals. 

Even far more liberal counties are lifting their mandates. The Bay Area Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma will all lift their indoor mask mandates on February 16th, the day after the state mandate expires. Also following the other counties is Berkeley. However, two big counties will not be lifting mandates. Santa Clara County Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody announced that they will not lift their mandate, saying that hospitalization rates are still too high for them to lift the mandate. Los Angeles County will also not be lifting its local mask mandate. Much like Santa Clara County, Los Angeles County officials say that hospitalizations are still too high. 

Along with the state mandate ending, the definition of “mega-events” is also changing. An outdoor  mega-event was classified as anything about 5,000 people but that will be changed to be 10,000 and above. However, it is unclear if Los Angeles will follow the new definition. 

Photo Cred:  Damian Dovarganes/ Associated Press