Effective Wednesday, California will reintroduce a statewide mask mandate for public indoor spaces.

The regulations come as positive COVID-19 cases have increased, as have COVID-19 related hospitalizations. Before Thanksgiving, the state was seeing 9.6 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, a number that has increased to 14 cases per 100,000 residents, since.

The statewide mask mandate will be limited to a month, between December 15 and January 15, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

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

Previously, the state’s order only required masks in public transportation, airline flights, schools and healthcare facilities.

The change will not create change in Los Angeles County, as it has required masks for indoor spaces, as well as outdoor mega events.

After the statewide announcement, L.A. Public health tweeted out that, “Wearing a mask indoors is crucial regardless of your vaccination status. It adds an extra layer of protection and will keep you and everyone around you safe this winter & holiday season.”

On Nov. 20, L.A. County COVID-19 related hospitalizations had decreased below 600 (584 hospitalizations)  for the first time in months, but have gradually increased since then, with 707 hospitalizations as of Dec. 12.

“If, as we suspect, this increase in cases reflects transmission that took place during holiday gatherings, we should consider this an early warning about the upcoming December holiday,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said about the increase in infections and hospitalizations.


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