California extends its indoor mask mandate until February as omicron surge continues




California announced it is extending its statewide indoor mask mandate until at least Feb. 15 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant, according to health department officials.

“We are and continue to be concerned about our hospitals,” Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told The Associated Press Wednesday. “Some facilities are going to be strapped.”

State officials reinstated the indoor mask mandate on Dec. 15 last year and it was originally due to expire on Jan. 15.

Currently, the state requires mask-wearing for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — in all indoor spaces, such as bars, restaurants and retail stores.

Many counties across California have their own indoor mandates, so the new statewide order primarily affects the counties that don’t.

As Feb. 15 approaches, “we will again re-evaluate the condition across California, our communities and our health-care delivery settings to make sure that we are taking the latest information into account to determine if there would be another extension, or if we’re prepared to lift that requirement across the state,” Ghaly said, according to KABC-TV.



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