San Diegans react to return of state’s indoor mask mandate

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO – Get ready to see more signs requiring masks posted in San Diego County.

Come Wednesday, a new statewide mask mandate takes effect for indoor public places such as restaurants and malls, whether vaccinated or not. State health officials said it’s to combat the spread of the virus during the holidays after seeing a 47% increase in COVID cases across the state since Thanksgiving. 

But in San Diego, new cases only are up slightly in recent weeks, making the mandate the latest source of frustration for some area business owners, according to county Supervisor Jim Desmond.

“Our current numbers are less than half of what we showed during the delta variant in late summer,” Desmond said in a statement. “We should not be punishing our businesses and restaurants yet again, without the local data and science to back it up.”

That’s not to say every business is upset about the news, however. Many are just hopeful that sales will still trend upwards amid the holiday season.

“Most of our reservations from here to the end of the year are already being set so you just communicate to the guest we will be needing you to use your mask as you have done in the past,” said Alberto Moreno with Catania in La Jolla. 

With the mask mandate, the state’s also tightening restrictions for indoor events of 1,000 people or more.

Unvaccinated attendees will have to show a negative test within two days if they have a negative PCR test. It will only be one day if it’s a rapid antigen test. This is all in place of the typical 72 hours to take a COVID-19 test before events. 

The La Jolla Music Society told FOX 5 that shortening the test window likely won’t shake things up too much for big events since many of their eventgoers are vaccinated. 

“We’ve had very few people showing their negative test almost everyone is showing us their vaccination proof and so when someone buys a ticket here and they show us proof of vaccination we can mark their account so they never have to show it again,” La Jolla Music Society CEO Todd Shultz said.

State health officials will recommend, but not require, that anyone traveling to California be tested within three to five days of their arrival. 

The mandate lasts until Jan. 15.

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