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California extends statewide indoor mask mandate into February

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A statewide California mask mandate requiring most people to wear face masks in indoor public places has been extended and will now last through Feb. 15.

The mandate requires people to wear a mask in indoor public locations irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The California Department of Public Health tweeted that, "CDPH has extended the statewide indoor masking requirement one month, through February 15, 2022. Masks must be worn in all indoor public places regardless of vaccine status."

The mandate includes several exceptions, including those for individuals below the age of two, for the hearing impaired and those communicating with the hearing impaired, as well as for individuals with a medical issue, mental health issue, or disability that stops them from using a mask. There is also an exemption for individuals "for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines."

"We are not discussing business closures or further limitations on businesses or other sectors of our economy and for the schools," California health and human services secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said during a call with reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"We also know that the level of immunity that we’ve created primarily due to vaccines has allowed us to sort of treat Omicron as, frankly, a little less virulent, a little less likely to cause severe disease, because we have high levels of immunity from so many Californians getting vaccinated, and those who’ve gotten prior infection," he said, according to the outlet. "We can manage the disease burden that we’re seeing in a way that we weren’t able to a year ago."

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