California will implement a mask mandate for all public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status, the head of the state’s health department announced on Monday.
The mandate will go into effect Wednesday and will last for one month. California Health and Human Services Agency secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the mandate will be implemented for all counties, including those that do not currently have masking requirements.
“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy, frankly I am too,” Ghaly told media outlets. “This is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked and can work.”
Ghaly said the rate of new daily coronavirus cases in California rose 47 percent since the beginning of December.
“As we head into the holidays, where people are mixing with others they’re not normally around in public places, wearing a mask is going to be one of the most important things to help us get through this period of uncertainty,” Ghaly said.
The announcement comes several days after New York governor Kathy Hochul implemented a mask mandate for businesses in her state. However, Hochul said on Monday that the state would not enforce the mandate, instead leaving enforcement to county officials.
“We have left this to the counties to enforce,” Hochul said at a press conference. “We hope that counties will enforce it. We expect that they will. We hope that they will. It’s in the best interests of public health.”