California to reimpose universal indoor mask mandate

Officials cite a rapid increase in cases in the state

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

The State of California is reimposing an indoor mask mandate that will apply to everyone, whether vaccinated or not.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the updated policy Monday, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state since the Thanksgiving holiday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom

California Governor Gavin Newsom (REUTERS/Fred Greaves)

NEW YORK ORDERS MASK MANDATE FOR INDOOR PUBLIC SPACES STATEWIDE

"This is a critical time," Ghaly said Monday. "We have a tool we know has worked and can work. We are proactively putting this tool of universal indoor masking in place to ensure we get through a time of joy and hope without a darker cloud of despair. Californians have done this before, and we believe we can do it again."

The updated guidance stands in stark contrast to the approach of states such as Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted imposing mask mandated and restrictions during a surge of cases in his state earlier this year. He has suggested that his focus on vaccinating people has worked.

"Even among a lot of positive tests, you are seeing much less mortality that you did year-over-year," DeSantis said in August when asked about imposing new mandates. 

The new mask mandate is set to take effect on Wednesday and will expire on Jan. 15. It will apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

The news comes as the omicron variant has officially spread to the state, with California reporting 18 cases of the variant as of Friday.

A sign advises shoppers to wear masks outside of a story Monday, July 19, 2021, in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A sign advises shoppers to wear masks outside of a story Monday, July 19, 2021, in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

More restrictions are being introduced for those who are unvaccinated, requiring such individuals to provide proof of a negative antigen test within 24 hours or a negative PCR test within 48 hours of attending gatherings with more than 1,000 in attendancem such as concerts or sporting events. The previous window for a negative test was 72 hours.

The move will make California one of only nine states imposing an indoor masking requirement for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, joining Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut. Washington D.C. also has such a mask mandate in place. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cases of COVID-19 in California have increased 47% since Thanksgiving, moving from 9.6 cases per 100,000 people per day to 14 cases per 100,000 people per day.

Currently, 64.8% of the state's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.