California has officially reopened as of June 15 after over a year of restrictions and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So you can ditch your masks right? Not so fast.
Those fully vaccinated will be allowed to do almost everything they did pre-pandemic without wearing a mask including grocery shopping, drinking at a bar, and going to the gym.
If you're not vaccinated, you're still going to have to wear a mask in "indoor public settings." That includes grocery stores, shops, restaurants, movie theaters and other indoor businesses.
There are other situations and places where masks will be required regardless of vaccination status. It all can be a bit confusing, so we've broken down the rules below.
Masks still required for everyone in the following places in California:
Any form of public transportation (think commuter buses and railroad systems) including airports and planes. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended their mask requirement through September 13, 2021. So yes, you will be required to wear a mask for your next trip out of LAX, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.
Hospitals, doctors' offices and long-term care facilities: Even if you are fully vaccinated, you are still required to wear a mask in healthcare settings like hospitals and long-term care facilities such as assisted living and nursing homes. When the new mask guidance for vaccinated individuals was initially released in May, the American Hospital Association (AHA) asked for a clarification to which the CDC emphasized that new masking recommendations for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not apply to health care settings.
Indoors at K-12 schools and childcare facilities: Dr. Ghaly announced Wednesday that people, including teachers and students, who are vaccinated are still going to need to wear masks when they are indoors. However, they don't have to wear masks while outdoors, like on a playground.
Prisons and homeless shelters: In accordance with CDC guidance, masks will still be required in correctional and detention facilities as well as homeless shelters.
Indoor workplaces (but not for long): When California fully reopens on June 15, everyone will still need to wear a mask at work; however, on Monday, Gov. Newsom said the state will soon be consistent with the CDC's guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. Those guidelines would allow vaccinated workers to stop wearing masks and would end social distancing. Cal/OSHA would need to formally adopt those rules at their next meeting on June 17. After that, Newsom says he will sign an executive order that will allow those rules to go into effect immediately.
Masks required for unvaccinated individuals:
Dr. Ghaly announced that unvaccinated Californians will still have to wear masks at all indoor public settings, like stores, restaurants, salons and the like. This is an update that goes further than CDC guidance, which suggests masking but doesn't require it.
Additional information you should know regarding mega events:
Indoor mega events (examples: NBA games, Staples Center events, or any other indoor conventions, conferences, expos or concerts)
Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be required of all attendees. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not be admitted to the event or venue.
Outdoor mega events (examples: MLB games at Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl concerts or any music or food festivals, car shows, marathons, etc.)
Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be strongly recommended for all attendees per state guidance, but not required. However, if you are not fully vaccinated nor have a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test, you will still be admitted to the event as long as you wear a mask.
How will businesses verify if customers are vaccinated or not?
If you don't need a mask when you're vaccinated, but you do need one if you're not -- how is a business supposed to know? They have three choices, according to Dr. Ghaly:
- Allow individuals to "self attest" they've been vaccinated
- Implement a vaccine verification system
- Require everyone to wear a mask
If a business has information posted visibly about the new guidelines (that unvaccinated people still need to wear masks) and someone walks into a business without a mask on, that should be interpreted as someone self attesting they are vaccinated, Ghaly said.