What to Know About Mask Rules in California

Friday: Vaccinated Californians will mostly be able to go mask-free. But there’s still some confusion. Also: News about California Today.

By Jill Cowan

Good morning.

Mask or no mask? That is — somehow still — the question.

This week, state officials announced that California remained on track for its grand reopening, which is set for Tuesday. Coronavirus case rates are among the nation’s lowest and vaccination rates are higher than in other large states.

As Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Thursday, Californians can “look forward to getting back to some semblance of normalcy.”

That means patrons and business operators won’t have to worry about physical distancing or capacity restrictions inside bars, restaurants, stores, offices or essentially anywhere else.

But whether you’ll have to mask up before you enter is still a bit unsettled.

Here’s what we do know: Vaccinated Californians will be able to go mask-free in most indoor settings starting Tuesday.

The new rules are meant to align with federal guidance, state officials said, and face coverings will still be required on public transportation and in taxis, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters. Masks will also be required indoors at K-12 schools, child care facilities and other places where there may be a large number of children who haven’t yet been vaccinated.

Unvaccinated people will have to keep wearing masks indoors, although the state — as throughout the pandemic — is maintaining a light touch with enforcement and is not requiring businesses to verify whether patrons are vaccinated. (They can be as strict as they choose.)

What we don’t know now is whether workers will be required to wear masks on the job and under what circumstances.

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