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California reimposes indoor mask mandate over COVID

Decision follows a similar one last summer in Oregon. Goal is to prevent Christmas from creating 'cloud of concern and despair,' health officials say.

Published: December 13, 2021 5:42pm

Updated: December 13, 2021 5:54pm

California on Monday became the one of the few states to re-impose a statewide indoor mask mandate, citing a rise in COVID-19 case.

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the mandate would go into effect Wednesday and remain in effect until Jan. 15. Oregon imposed a similar mandate in the summer and last month began taking steps to make it more permanent.

“We are proactively putting this tool of universal indoor masking in public settings in place to ensure we get through a time of joy and hope without a darker cloud of concern and despair,” Ghaly said. “Californians have done this before, and we, of course, believe we can do it again.”

Since Thanksgiving, California has witnessed a 47% increase in case rate, up from roughly 9.6 cases per 100,000 daily to over 14 cases per 100,000 per day, Ghaly said.

“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy. Frankly, I am too,” he said. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked."