California officially reopens next week on June 15 after over a year of restrictions and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So you can ditch your masks right? Not so fast.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary, announced more details on what California’s mask mandate will look like after the June 15 reopening.
Those fully vaccinated will be allowed to do almost everything they did pre-pandemic without wearing a mask, including grocery shopping, drinking at a bar, and going to the gym.
If you’re not vaccinated, you’re still going to have to wear a mask in “indoor public settings.” That includes grocery stores, shops, restaurants, movie theaters and other indoor businesses.
There are other situations and places where masks will be required regardless of vaccination status. It all can be a bit confusing, so we’ve broken down the rules below.
Masks still required for everyone in the following places in California:
Any form of public transportation (think commuter buses and railroad systems) including airports and planes. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended their mask requirement through September 13, 2021. So yes, you will be required to wear a mask for your next trip out of SFO, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.
Hospitals: Even if you are fully vaccinated, you are still required to wear a mask in healthcare settings like hospitals. When the new mask guidance for vaccinated individuals was released, the American Hospital Association (AHA) asked for a clarification to which the CDC emphasized that new masking recommendations for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not apply to health care settings.
Indoors at K-12 schools: Dr. Ghaly announced Wednesday that people, including teachers and students, who are vaccinated are still going to need to wear masks when they are indoors. However, they don’t have to wear masks while outdoors, like on a playground.
Prisons and homeless shelters: In accordance with CDC guidance, masks will still be required in correctional and detention facilities as well as homeless shelters.
Indoor workplaces Wednesday night, Cal/OSHA tossed controversial workplace mask rules that were adopted last week. The rules would have allowed indoor workers to forego masks only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The board will consider changes at its June 17 meeting and potentially have them go into effect by month’s end.
Disneyland: If you want to visit the most magical place on Earth, you’re still going to need to mask up even after the June 15. The only thing that will change after California’s reopening is that the capacity limits at Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure will be lifted.
Masks required for unvaccinated individuals:
Dr. Ghaly announced Wednesday that unvaccinated Californians will still have to wear masks at all indoor public settings, like stores, restaurants, salons and the like. This is an update that goes further than CDC guidance, which suggests masking but doesn’t require it.
Oracle Park said it will also strongly recommending masks for fans at Giants games — especially fans who aren’t vaccinated.
How will businesses verify if customers are vaccinated or not?
If you don’t need a mask when you’re vaccinated, but you do need one if you’re not — how is a business supposed to know? They have three choices, according to Dr. Ghaly:
- Allow individuals to “self attest” they’ve been vaccinated
- Implement a vaccine verification system
- Require everyone to wear a mask
If a business has information posted visibly about the new guidelines (that unvaccinated people still need to wear masks) and someone walks into a business without a mask on, that should be interpreted as someone self attesting they are vaccinated, Ghaly said.
How are businesses reacting?
Businesses are still sorting out how they are going to respond to Wednesday’s announcement.
Safeway told ABC7 News, “After careful consideration of the updated CDC guidelines, as of June 15, we will no longer require face coverings for our customers who are fully vaccinated, unless state or local mandates require otherwise.” It’s not clear how they plan to enforce the rule.
Businesses are also watching for guidance out of Cal/OSHA on which safety protocols they’ll need to keep in place.
Additional information you should know regarding mega events:
Indoor mega events (examples: Warriors games, events at the Chase Center and Oakland Arena, or any other indoor conventions, conferences, expos or concerts)
Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be required of all attendees. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not be admitted to the event or venue.
Outdoor mega events (examples: MLB games at the Coliseum and Oracle Park, concerts at venues like Shoreline Ampitheatre or any music or food festivals, car shows, marathons, etc.)
Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be strongly recommended for all attendees per state guidance, but not required. However, if you are not fully vaccinated nor have a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test, you will still be admitted to the event as long as you wear a mask.
Oracle Park announced it will no longer be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test starting June 25. It will also be discontinuing the use of a “fully vaccinated” section of seats, but will offer some tickets in a socially distanced section.
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