California is recommending that all Californians wear masks in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
The state’s announcement comes a day after the CDC recommended all Americans use masks indoors as COVID-19 cases have risen, aided by the Delta variant.
“The Delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state,” Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, CDPH director and state public health officer, said in a statement. “We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated.”
Before Wednesday’s mask recommendation, vaccinated Californians were not required to wear masks in most indoor settings and vaccination status was primarily determined by self-attestation.
Gubernatorial candidate in this year’s upcoming special election, John Cox, stated that mask-wearing sends the “wrong message” about vaccine effectiveness.
“I strongly oppose Gavin Newsom’s latest mask mandate. It sends the wrong message on vaccinations and reopening our state,” John Cox said Wednesday. “Vaccine hesitancy will increase and our small businesses will suffer from a state that feels like it’s being shut down again by Gavin Newsom. Only .039% of vaccinated Californians have gotten an infection. That makes the latest order nonsensical and counterproductive.”
While the statewide recommendation is not a mandate that can actively be enforced, a mandate in Los Angeles County has been enforceable since July 17. California counties have the power to order stronger mandates than the state, but never more lenient.