California’s universal indoor mask mandate expired at midnight, but that doesn’t mean you can ditch your mask. Even if you’re up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, there are still plenty of places in the Golden State where you’ll need to cover your nose and mouth.
Almost everyone – vaccinated or not – will still need to wear a mask when:
- In a hospital, medical clinic, dialysis center, dentist’s office or any other place where health care is provided.
- In retirement homes and other long-term care facilities.
- By taking public transport. This includes Ubers, Lyfts, and taxis in addition to buses and subways. Airplanes and ferries count too.
- At transport hubs such as airports, train stations, marinas and bus stations.
- Inside a K-12 school or daycare center.
- In homeless shelters.
- In correctional facilities, including jails, jails and other detention facilities.
- In emergency shelters established for people displaced by forest fires and other disasters.
- In cooling and heating centers set up during episodes of extreme heat or extreme cold.
If you are not vaccinated, California also requires masks when you are:
- Indoors in a restaurant, retail store, movie theater or other business.
- Inside a government building or other public place.
Although vaccinated people will have the freedom to go mask-free in these indoor settings, the state Department of Public Health recommends that vaccinated people continue to cover their nose and mouth “when the risk may be high.” .
For now, only certain categories of people are allowed to do without masks:
- Infants and toddlers under 2 who could suffocate if wearing a mask.
- People who cannot tolerate any obstruction to their breathing due to a medical condition.
- Anyone who cannot remove a mask on their own due to a disability or medical or mental health condition.
- Those who rely on lip reading to communicate with a hearing impaired person.
- Workers whose work would be dangerous if they had to wear a mask. Workers cannot make that decision themselves — it must come from federal, state, or local regulators, or be spelled out in company guidelines.
Some local health authorities have their own mask rules that are stricter than state ones. In Los Angeles, Santa Clara and Mendocino counties, you will still need to wear a mask in businesses, government offices and other indoor public places even if you are fully vaccinated.
Los Angeles Times