IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

California to let indoor mask mandate expire for vaccinated people

The unvaccinated will still have to wear masks inside after the mandate ends Feb. 15, the governor said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he will let a statewide indoor mask mandate expire next week for people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Masks will continue to be the rule for schoolchildren, his office said, and the unvaccinated will still have to wear masks indoors after the mandate ends Feb. 15.

Local governments can continue their own indoor masking requirements.

The announcement comes nearly two months after the rule was reimposed across the state's 58 counties as the highly transmissible omicron variant swept across the country.

The state policy for masking in schools remains unchanged, a spokesperson for the governor said Monday afternoon, adding that the governor’s office will continue to monitor the data and adjust accordingly.

Newsom said Monday that hospitalizations in California have fallen by 65 percent after having peaked last month.

According to state data, unvaccinated people accounted for the vast majority of hospitalizations in recent months.

Nearly 70 percent of Californians are vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Monday, 69.4 percent of the state's population was fully vaccinated, according to the data.

During the week that ended Jan. 11, the rate of hospitalizations among people who were vaccinated and boosted was 9 per million, according to the data.

During the same period among the unvaccinated, the rate was nearly 13 times greater, or 114 people per million, according to the data.

In his announcement Monday, Newsom encouraged everyone in the country’s most populous state to get vaccinated and boosted.