RIVERSIDE (CNS) – California will lift its requirement that students
and staff wear masks indoors at schools at 11:59 p.m. March 11, making face
coverings “strongly recommended” but not mandated, Gov. Gavin Newsom
As of Tuesday, meanwhile, the state will also lift its requirement
that unvaccinated people wear masks in most indoor settings, but masks will be
“strongly recommended” for everyone indoors. Masks will also continue to be
required for everyone at settings including health-care facilities, transit
centers, airports, aboard public transit, in correctional facilities and at
homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.
“California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data
and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide
our response to the pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “Masks are an
effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially
when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus,
but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in
science to keep California moving forward.”
Under the timeline announced Monday, the state will no longer mandate
indoor mask-wearing on school campuses beginning March 12. Individual school
districts or counties, however, will have the option of maintaining local
requirements if they deem them necessary.
It was not immediately clear if Los Angeles County — which has taken
a conservative approach throughout the pandemic in easing public health rules —
will align with the state and lift the school masking requirement. The county
has already lifted its outdoor mask-wearing rule at schools and child-care
The governors of Oregon and Washington joined Newsom in Monday’s
announcement, with those states also announcing a lifting of indoor mask
requirements as of 11:59 p.m. March 11 — effectively ending the face-covering
rules for the entire West Coast.
The announcement comes following Friday’s change in guidance by the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which adopted new standards
that rely largely on COVID hospital numbers to govern whether masks should be
worn. Those new standards — while resulted in mask recommendations being
lifted for much of the country, still classified Los Angeles and San Diego
counties as having “high” virus activity and urged that people continue to
Under the new CDC guidance, both Orange and Riverside counties are in
the “medium” category, so the federal guidance does not require mask-wearing.
Despite California’s lifting of indoor mask-wearing requirements, Los
Angeles County continues to require face coverings in most indoor settings.
However, the county is allowing vaccinated people to remove their masks in
indoor locations where all patrons are checked for either a COVID vaccination
or a recent negative test.
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