Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that the state’s mask mandate, which has been in place since June 2020, will officially be ending on June 15th.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Fox affiliate, Newsom said that while large indoor gatherings will likely still need masks due to the increased risk, the mandate would be moved to being a recommendation. The Governor even specifically noted that businesses both large and small businesses would be covered by the mandate reduction.
“We’re not wearing face coverings. We’re not restricted in any way, shape or form from doing the old things that we used to do, save for huge, large-scale indoor convention events like that, where we use our common sense,” said the Governor on Tuesday. “Only in those settings that are indoor. Only in those massively large settings where people from around the world, not just around the country, are convening and where people are mixing in real dense spaces. Otherwise we’ll make guidance, recommendations but no mandates. There will be no mandates and no restrictions in businesses large and small.
“It will look will look a lot like the world we entered into before the pandemic.”
NEWS: @GavinNewsom tells me CA's mask mandate will almost entirely go away on June 15th.
"Only in those massively large [indoor] settings where people from around the world are convening & people are mixing in real dense spaces. Otherwise…no mandates"
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) May 12, 2021
The end of the mandate comes as COVID-19 rates in the state continue to fall, and 46.1% of all Californians currently eligible for the vaccine, or 14.6 million people, are already fully vaccinated while 62.3%, or 19.8 million people, have had at least 1 dose, according to the California Department of Public Health. In addition, the state also now has the second lowest case rate in the country according to CDC data.
While the health factors, as well as new CDC regulations allowing for vaccinated individuals to not wear masks at outdoor restaurants and events, likely played a large part in Newsom’s decisions, many critics pointed out that Newsom, facing pressure from the impending recall election, may have decided to end mandates earlier as a way to boost popularity.
“A lot of things he did during the pandemic, including business closures and some of the strictest mask mandates in the country, made him unpopular,” Carla Martinez, a Latinx political advisor to several Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Malibu organizations, told the Globe on Wednesday. “Latinos in particular didn’t like it, as many have small businesses or are employees in businesses affected by the lockdown. Many other groups, especially Asians and whites, were also heavily affected by the lockdown and forced masks, but Latinos really rallied against these decisions, and he really can’t lose the Latino vote.”
“That’s why you saw the stimulus checks on Monday and the mandate end yesterday. He’s trying to win back favor. One surprise announcement that would get him positive attention, okay, that’s a surprise. But two or more this close together? It’s obvious he’s trying to turn his own popularity around at this point and trying to get support in places where he has been waning.”
The end of the mandate is currently set to coincide with California’s reopening date of June 15th. The mandate will end more than three months after other states such as Texas and Florida ended their own mask mandates.