State mandates indoor masks

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indoor mask requirement currently in effect through Jan. 15, 2022

Starting Wednesday, Dec. 15, the state of California has imposed a mandate to wear masks indoors in public places. The mandate is currently scheduled to end Jan. 15.

Your vaccination status doesn’t matter, according to the state government.

On Dec. 13, the California Department of Public Health announced that the agency is “is requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022).”

On Dec. 15, the Superintendent of Los Angeles County Schools issued a statement that said, in part: “The LA County Office of Education has required the use of masks in all indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, since the countywide mandate went into place in mid-July.”

The state agency cited the omicron variant of COVID-19 as the reason for the one-month mask mandate.

“The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times,” according to the state Health Department

“Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.

“Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.

“Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

“Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.”

Enforcement of COVID-19 related mandates has varied by counties and sometimes cites since the governor ordered the statewide shutdown in March 2020.

According to, masks are required:

• “Indoor public spaces (until January 15, 2022)

• “Public transit

• “Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities)

• “Adult and senior care facilities

• “Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings

• “State and local correctional facilities and detention centers

• “Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, and cooling centers

As to the workplace, the state website said:

• “Masks are not required outdoors (except during outbreaks), regardless of vaccination status. Workers should be trained for outdoor use of face coverings.

• “Masks are not required for fully-vaccinated employees indoors, but they are recommended. Employers must document employees’ vaccination status.

• “There are some settings where masks are required regardless of vaccination status. In outbreaks, all employees must wear masks indoors and outdoors when six feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.

• “Employers must provide unvaccinated employees with NIOSH-certified respirator masks for voluntary use when:

“Working indoors, or

“In a vehicle with others.

“Unvaccinated workers must wear masks in state offices.”