California Reinstates Mask Mandate Amid Rise in COVID-19 Cases

California will bring back a statewide indoor mask mandate as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration announced that wearing masks will be required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, starting Wednesday until Jan. 15.

The mandate comes after a post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID-19 infections and in preparation for more upcoming holidays.

The weekly average case rate in the most populous state in the U.S. increased by 47 percent and hospitalizations went up by 14 percent since Thanksgiving, according to the California Department of Health and Human Services (CDPH).

“We are already seeing a higher level of transmission this winter and it is important to act now to prevent overwhelming our busy hospitals so we can provide quality health care to all Californians,” said CDPH Director Dr. Tomás J. Aragón.

Authorities also issued a new travel advisory requiring travelers arriving in California to be tested for COVID-19 three to five days upon arrival.

“We know people are tired and hungry for normalcy, and frankly, I am too,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly told reporters on a conference call. “That said, this is a critical time where we have a tool that we know has worked.”

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