With declining cases and hospitalizations, California will be lifting its mask mandate starting February 16, 2022
By Kamryn Sobel
California state health officials recently announced they will be lifting restrictions on preexisting mask mandates. As of February 16, 2022, most indoor settings will allow vaccinated persons to unmask. Those who are unvaccinated and over the age of 2 will still be required to wear masks while indoors.
Specific changes taking into effect consist of “universal masking… required in only specified settings,” while “only unvaccinated persons are required to mask in all indoor public settings. Fully vaccinated individuals are recommended to continue indoor masking when the risk may be high,” according to the California Department of Public Health.
In light of new guidelines on the mask mandates, Contra Costa County released on February 9th, that they “will lift universal mask requirements for vaccinated people in most indoor public settings beginning Wednesday, February 16. The move comes as cases and hospitalizations have begun to rapidly drop around the state and region.” Within the county, per Contra Costa Health Services, 80.2% of residents are vaccinated and 49.0% have received their booster. The county is also seeing a decrease in both average new cases per day as well as COVID-related hospitalizations.
As numbers decline across the state, the California Department of Public Health continues to recommend the Covid-19 vaccine due to, “preventing serious disease, hospitalization, and death from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Unvaccinated individuals are much more likely to become infected when compared to vaccinated and boosted individuals.”
Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli comments, “We are able to take this next major step of removing the universal indoor mask requirement because we have laid a strong foundation in good public health protections—especially vaccines and boosters—and know we can reduce severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
Surrounding counties in the Bay Area will also be following the new guidelines, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley.
Ryan Ford '23,