(CNN) — Gov. Gavin Newsom said California will effectively end its mask-wearing mandate next month when, according to plans, the state fully reopens after more than a year of covid-19 restrictions.
In an on-camera interview with KTTV Los Angeles reporter Elex Michaelson, posted on Twitter, the governor was asked, “Will we wear masks after June 15?”
“Not. Only in those environments that are indoors, only in those enormously large environments where people from all over the world come together, not just from the country, and when people mix in really dense spaces, ”Newsom replied. “Otherwise, we will make guidance recommendations, but without mandates or restrictions for companies large and small.”
California currently requires the use of masks indoors outside the home, including on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status. However, fully vaccinated people are not required to wear face masks outdoors, except when attending crowded events.
Last month, state health officials announced the June 15 deadline to fully reopen the state amid falling rates of covid-19 infection and low hospitalizations, setting aside its system of tiers coded by colors dictated by county reopening based on infection rates.
However, the masks mandate in California would remain in effect at least “in the short term,” Newsom said at the time.
Spokespersons for the governor’s office and the California Department of Public Health did not respond to requests for comment from CNN on Wednesday.
Approximately 52% of the California population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 89% of people over the age of 65, according to CDC data. After an alarming outbreak in December and January, the state has averaged 7 days with fewer than 2,000 new coronavirus cases daily for the past two weeks.
Current CDC guidance indicates that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors, except in large gatherings, but should continue to wear masks indoors. The guide says that unvaccinated people should wear masks in almost all situations where other unvaccinated people may be present.
However, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, said Sunday that he believes the CDC has been too cautious in continuing restrictions on vaccinated people, who have many less likely to become infected, spread the virus, or require hospitalization.
“It’s time for the CDC to start embracing this kind of bifurcated strategy and perhaps giving the unvaccinated a hint of what life might be like if they get vaccinated,” he said.
CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism