How California's Mask Mandate Will Change on June 15 Reopening

Further details on how California's mask rules will be affected when the state fully reopens on June 15 were revealed Wednesday.

California's Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly explained that from June 15, with the exception of a few situations, fully vaccinated individuals will not need to wear a mask indoors, such as in grocery stores, restaurants, bars and gyms, or outdoors unless it's required by a local health department or business.

California's NBC Bay Area reported Ghaly said at a briefing Wednesday: "Fully vaccinated people can resume everyday activities without wearing a mask, except in a few limited settings that are required by federal and state rules."

Those who haven't been vaccinated will still be required to wear a mask indoors or when attending large outdoor events such as concerts or sports games.

Where masks will be still be required after June 15

California's ABC7 reported the exceptional settings where masks will still be required for everyone (regardless of vaccination status) include the following:

  • Public transport (including buses, trains, airports)
  • Hospitals
  • Indoors at schools (K-12)
  • Childcare settings
  • Long-term care facilities (such as assisted living and nursing homes)
  • Prisons
  • Homeless shelters

How will the rules be enforced?

According to NBC Bay Area, Ghaly said the latest rules will be implemented on an honor system, since most businesses will not be required to confirm a customer's vaccination status before they're allowed to enter a venue without wearing a mask.

However, certain large indoor events will be required to verify all guests are either vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.

Ghaly explained: "Business owners will need to post requirements that people who are unvaccinated are still required to wear masks.

"But if somebody comes into their business or their operation without a mask, it should be considered a self-attestation for someone being vaccinated," he said.

At least through October 1, indoor events hosting 5,000 or more people will be required to verify that all guests have been fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the event, NBC Bay Area reported Wednesday.

What's still to be determined

It is unknown how the current mask rules approved for indoor workplaces, which allows employees to forgo wearing masks if every worker in the room has been fully vaccinated, will be updated after June 15.

The latest rules were approved on June 3 by California's Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board and were awaiting review by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).

However, the board voted to withdraw the rules from OAL review at a meeting held Wednesday "to consider the latest guidance regarding masking from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH)."

In a statement Wednesday, California's Department of Industrial Relations said: "Last November, the Board adopted emergency temporary health and safety standards to protect workers from COVID-19 that went into effect that month. On June 3, the Standards Board voted to adopt revisions due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"At today's meeting, the Standards Board voted unanimously to withdraw the revisions approved on June 3 that are currently at OAL for review but have not yet become effective.

"Cal/OSHA [California Division of Occupational Safety and Health] will review the new mask guidance and bring any recommended revisions to the board. The Board could consider new revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as the regular meeting on June 17. In the meantime, the protections adopted in November of 2020 will remain in effect," the statement said.

Newsweek has contacted the California Department of Industrial Relations as well as the Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board for further comment.

Mask sign in California in March 2021.
A mask requirement sign displayed in March 2021 at the AMC Burbank theatre Burbank, California. From June 15, masks will not be required for vaccinated California residents in most indoor and outdoor settings. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

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