CA officials have yet to confirm if state will adopt CDC's looser mask rules


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its guidance around fully vaccinated people and face masks Thursday.

People who are fully vaccinated are now being advised that they can safely drop their masks in any outdoor setting and most indoor settings, unless they are in a crowded or high-risk space such as a bus, plane or hospital.

But for Californians, state and local rules still say that regardless of your vaccination status, you need to wear a mask in public indoor spaces.

Across the border in Nevada, Arizona and Oregon it is a different story, as those states and many others immediately adopted the CDC’s new recommendation.

Most experts believe there is little risk that the looser rules will lead to more outbreaks, unless a variant develops that it more resistant to the vaccine.

There has been no indication from Gov. Gavin Newsom yet as to when California might loosen its rules, although he hinted earlier this week that come June 15 when the color-coded tiered reopening system goes away, so might the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people.

State officials did say that they encourage everyone who is able to get vaccinated before June 15.

Local governments could choose to keep stricter rules in place, and because there is no standard way to verify if someone has been vaccinated, some cautious business owners may stick with the "no mask, no service" rule.

"Remember, businesses can set up their own rules. In theory a business can say, ‘you can only come in if you’re wearing a blue shirt’," said Hastings Law professor Doreet Rice. "So they can say ‘we only accept people with masks, vaccinated or not, regardless of the rules. However, there will be a lot of pressure for them to move away from that."

Roughly 36% of all Californians are fully vaccinated, including those under 12 who are not yet eligible. About 47% of those 16 and older are fully vaccinated and another 15% have received the first dose.

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