California mask mandate: Where you still have to wear a mask as CA reopens

The mask rules in CA will be different if you're vaccinated or unvaccinated

ByAlix Martichoux and Cornell Barnard, Hayley Salazar KGO logo
Friday, June 18, 2021
COVID mask rules change as California reopens
If you're fully vaccinated or not, here's what you should know for COVID mask rules as California reopens today.

California officially reopens today after over a year of restrictions and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So you can ditch your masks right? Not so fast.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary, announced more details on what California's mask mandate looks like after the June 15 reopening.

Those fully vaccinated are allowed to do almost everything they did pre-pandemic without wearing a mask, including grocery shopping, drinking at a bar, and going to the gym.

RELATED: Everything to know about California's June 15 reopening, from capacity limits to the mask mandate

If you're not vaccinated, you still have to wear a mask in "indoor public settings." That includes grocery stores, shops, restaurants, movie theaters and other indoor businesses.

There are other situations and places where masks are required regardless of vaccination status. It all can be a bit confusing, so we've broken down the rules below.

Masks still required for everyone in the following places in California:

Any form of public transportation (think commuter buses and railroad systems) including airports and planes. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended their mask requirement through Sept. 13, 2021. So yes, you are required to wear a mask for your next trip out of SFO, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.

Hospitals: Even if you are fully vaccinated, you are still required to wear a mask in health care settings like hospitals.

Indoors at K-12 schools: People, including teachers and students, who are vaccinated still need to wear masks when they are indoors. However, they don't have to wear masks while outdoors, like on a playground.

Prisons and homeless shelters: In accordance with CDC guidance, masks are still required in correctional and detention facilities as well as homeless shelters.

Masks required for unvaccinated individuals:

Unvaccinated Californians still have to wear masks at all indoor public settings, like stores, restaurants, salons and the like. This is an update that goes further than CDC guidance, which suggests masking but doesn't require it.

Oracle Park said it will also strongly recommend masks for fans at Giants games -- especially fans who aren't vaccinated.

How will businesses verify if customers are vaccinated or not?

If you don't need a mask when you're vaccinated, but you do need one if you're not -- how is a business supposed to know? They have three choices:

  • Allow individuals to "self attest" they've been vaccinated
  • Implement a vaccine verification system
  • Require everyone to wear a mask

If a business has information posted visibly about the new guidelines (that unvaccinated people still need to wear masks) and someone walks into a business without a mask on, that should be interpreted as someone self attesting they are vaccinated, Ghaly said.

Am I required to wear a mask at work?

There has been a lot of back and forth on this question. Cal/OSHA first adopted a rule saying workers would need to wear a mask indoors unless every single employee in the room was vaccinated, but then tossed out those rules in a later meeting. Cal/OSHA decided on June 17 to formally allow fully vaccinated workers to take off their masks while at the workplace. Unvaccinated employees still need to wear masks indoors.

Read more here.

Additional information you should know regarding mega events:

Indoor mega events (examples: Warriors games, events at the Chase Center and Oakland Arena, or any other indoor conventions, conferences, expos or concerts)

Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be required of all attendees. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not be admitted to the event or venue.

Outdoor mega events (examples: MLB games at the Coliseum and Oracle Park, concerts at venues like Shoreline Ampitheatre or any music or food festivals, car shows, marathons, etc.)

Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result will be strongly recommended for all attendees per state guidance, but not required. However, if you are not fully vaccinated nor have a pre-entry negative COVID-19 test, you will still be admitted to the event as long as you wear a mask.

Oracle Park announced it will no longer be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test starting June 25. It will also be discontinuing the use of a "fully vaccinated" section of seats, but will offer some tickets in a socially distanced section.

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