FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – A statewide mask mandate returns to California this Wednesday, requiring all residents to wear a mask indoors.
The mandate is set to go from December 15 to January 15 and applies to all residents regardless of vaccination status.
“This is a temporary measure. We’ve seen it before, and we’re seeing it again now because this is a high-risk time,” said Dr. Rohan, the deputy director and chief equity officer at the California Department of Public Health.
Since Thanksgiving, California has reported a 47% increase in cases and COVID hospitalizations are increasing by 100 per day.
“The last thing we want is a loved one that needs hospital services to not be able to get high-quality, timely care because the hospital is filled up with something that is preventable,” Dr. Rohan said.
In Madera County, ICU beds are already full, and cases have increased 34% since Thanksgiving. Assistant Public Health Director Stephanie Nathan says their approach to this mandate will remain the same as previous mandates.
“Our approach throughout the pandemic – even with the orders that came in the past – has really been around voluntary enforcement. It’s really up to people to do their part as well,” she said.
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig says Fresno will follow a similar approach.
“We still rely on voluntary compliance. At the end of the day, people know what they need to do to keep themselves safe and ultimately it’s up to families and individuals to make those choices,” he said.
Also starting Wednesday, unvaccinated people who want to attend events where more than 1,000 people are in attendance will have to show proof of a negative PCR COVID test within two days of the event or a negative antigen test within one day of the event.