California to Maintain Mask Rules Until June 15

May 17, 2021, 4:19 PM · Plan to keep your mask on outdoors while visiting Disneyland and other California theme parks for the next month. The State of California announced today that it would maintain its current mask guidance until June 15, despite recent changes to the CDC's national guidance.

That changed prompted Florida's Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando to stop requiring guests to wear masks in outdoors common areas, though masks remain required while in attraction queues or indoors. SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay ditched their mask policy entirely for vaccinated guests, but they also are not checking for proof of vaccination, so it's anything goes at those parks. The CDC guidance says that fully vaccinated people (i.e. those two weeks past their final Covid shot) can go without masks, but that non-fully-vaccinated people should continue to wear them indoors and outside within crowds.

But the CDC also said that it defers to states and private business to set their own, more restrictive rules. California has decided to keep its existing mask guidance in place for now. That means fully vaccinated persons are not required to wear masks outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events. Unvaccinated people are required to wear masks outdoors whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained. Indoors, everyone is required to wear masks while outside their home and with other people, except for vaccinated people visiting other vaccinated people and children from a single household at low risk for Covid.

Since theme parks seem to be considered crowded outdoor events under California rules, today's announcement from the state would preclude Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld San Diego and other theme parks in the state from relaxing their current mask mandates.

California officials have said that the state plans to lift its current pandemic rules on June 15, though some new rules may be implemented to take their place, depending upon how infection and vaccination rates go in the state between now and then. A state announcement today said that after June 15, "the state plans to allow fully-vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings. You will still have the option to wear a mask if you choose."

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Replies (9)

May 17, 2021 at 6:47 PM

This date makes sense since it’s six weeks after it was mandated by The White House that any adult could get a walk up vaccination at a pharmacy. After that, you’ve made the decision whether to protect yourself and others.

May 17, 2021 at 7:33 PM

Seems like a safe and responsible decision.
No reason to rip off the band-aid before the wound is healed.

May 18, 2021 at 12:13 AM

As Newsom has been continuously claiming to be following science and data when implementing restrictions, it's incredibly disappointing that he's not doing the same when it comes to rolling them back. While I do think it is too soon to just go with an honor system everywhere, I hoped California would at least drop the outdoor mask mandate in all situations (especially since the risk of transmission is low even in crowded situations) and look at where it actually makes sense to keep a mandate vs. refusing to change anything for a month. To be honest, if unvaccinated individuals are allowed to partake in indoor dining, I seriously doubt the mask mandate is making much of a difference anywhere. Am I surprised? Not in the least, but it's troubling not only that the state insists on maintaining rules the CDC considers obsolete but that they're even discussing a new set of restrictions at this point in time.

May 18, 2021 at 1:22 AM

The outdoor mask mandate will at least protect employees who haven’t been able to get the vaccine until a few weeks ago. After that, you should have vaccinated or gotten off the pot.

May 18, 2021 at 8:36 AM

100%, AJ. Interesting to note that the states that are resisting the new CDC guidelines are mostly blue states, the same states whose government repeatedly told its citizens to "follow the science".

May 18, 2021 at 8:59 AM

It is really interesting to see the dichotomy here, and to realize that when people say "follow the science" they really mean "follow MY science".

I find it extremely perplexing that a state with one of the lowest transmission rates in the country is going counter to an agency that establishes guidelines meant for the entire US, which as a whole has higher rates of transmission. I guess we shouldn't be too surprised here as California has established and maintained some of the most restrictive pandemic policies in the country, and has continuously failed to adjust them proactively with the data/science, nor to objectively examine and follow the lead of other jurisdictions even when policy changes elsewhere have not adversely affected transmission.

As it's been since last March, California is being forced to follow Dr. Newsom's science.

May 18, 2021 at 11:09 AM

One thing hitting me lately is that masks are very useful for allergies and likely keeping mine on for a while even though fully vaccinated.

May 18, 2021 at 11:21 PM

While I’m no stranger to wearing masks when I used to work in jobs that required them in areas where dust filled the air, painting houses/metal surfaces, and wearing them during any given forest fire that happens in a yearly basis in SoCal, I’ve going to start using it when I get sick to prevent spreading any diseases to anyone.

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