SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Vaccinated Californians will have the opportunity to choose not to wear a mask in most public spaces on June 15, the same day state officials plan for a full reopening.
Until then, the statewide mandatory mask order remains in place.
California’s top health official, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, announced Monday that the state will wait to implement new mask guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s new guidelines allow fully-vaccinated Americans to go without wearing a mask in most places and situations.
“It’s in no way saying that the science or direction by the CDC is wrong or there’s a challenge to it,” Ghaly explained. “It’s really just giving ourselves across the state some additional time.”
Ghaly says California will follow those guidelines once the state fully reopens its economy without restrictions, which he says is on track to happen on June 15.
“This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change,” Ghaly said.
For the next month, the state order will continue to require everyone to wear a mask indoors and require the unvaccinated to wear them outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
Ghaly says the four-week wait will allow more Californians to get vaccinated and for case rates to hopefully fall.
As of Monday, about 49% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated with a statewide positivity rate at less than 1%.
The wait will also give state health officials time to figure out possible enforcement on the loosening of their mask rules.
Health officials are not using and do not plan to use a vaccine passport or verification system within California but are keeping an eye on other states that are using verification technology.
“We believe this technology is going to evolve in the next weeks and months, and just like we’ve been in conversation with federal partners and continuing to watch and see how these technologies can be used to help support public health in our state but right now, no change in the position,” Ghaly said.
Although state officials plan to move forward with allowing the vaccinated to go without masks beginning June 15, state leaders say local governments can still keep the mandate in place.