SAN DIEGO — California is ending the indoor masking requirement for vaccinated people on Wednesday as the state sees declining COVID-19 case rates and hospitalization numbers.
The statewide face covering requirement expired Tuesday, moving the state back to previous guidance that mandates masks only for unvaccinated people in indoor public settings like shops, gyms, bars and movie theaters. Masks are now only “strongly recommended” indoors for vaccinated people, but not required.
In San Diego County, local leaders say the state’s new rules apply immediately. Businesses told FOX 5 they’ve been preparing for the mid-week shift for their customers, with many saying they’re looking forward to the policy.
Local governments in other parts of the state, including Los Angeles County, have said they will leave stricter guidelines in place for now.
And masks will still be required for everyone — regardless of vaccination status — at settings like buses, subways, train stations, hospitals, homeless shelters and other congregate living areas.
California is also keeping its school masking requirements in place at least through the end of the month, but officials said they will reassess on Feb. 28 and make an announcement.
Currently, California students and teachers have to mask up indoors at K-12 schools statewide. In L.A. County, masks are also required outdoors at schools.
Here’s where masks will and won’t be required by California starting Wednesday:
|Masks required||Masks not required|
|– For unvaccinated people inside all indoor public settings like shops, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices|
– On public transit like planes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares
– In transportation hubs like airports, bus terminals, marinas, train stations, seaports or other ports, subway stations
– Indoors at K-12 schools and childcare centers
– Emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers
– Health care settings
– State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
– Homeless shelters
– Long term care settings and senior care facilities
|– For fully vaccinated people inside all indoor public settings like shops, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and government offices|
– For children younger than 2 years old
Businesses throughout California may choose to keep asking patrons to mask up, even when the state no longer requires it.
What else is changing?
Also changing after Tuesday: How the state defines for “mega” events like sporting events and concerts.
During the surge, the state made it so that indoor events of 500 people were considered “mega” events that require COVID-19 vaccine verification.
Definitions will go back to pre-surge guidance, meaning that only indoor events of 1,000 or more attendees will be required to check for vaccine status or negative coronavirus test results.
But L.A. will still require vaccine verification at small indoor events with fewer than 500 attendees, and L.A. County requires it at outdoor events of 5,000 or more attendees.