Au Revoir, Mask Mandates

By Cat Kemp

California has decided to lift most indoor mask mandates as of March 1, and school mandates as of March 13. Although the mask mandate will be lifted, it is still heavily recommended that they be worn as much as possible, and individual businesses are still able to create their own mask rules. Regardless of vaccine status, masks will still be required at high transmission settings like public transit, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities. The only people exempt from any mask restrictions are children under the age of two and people with mental or physical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask. As for school districts, they also have the ability to make their own mask requirements within their counties ruling. Taking masks off in schools has been a long anticipated and large step away from the formerly strict policies placed throughout California and especially the Bay Area. However, with the mandates being loosened, there has been a general discomfort among many parents and teachers. In a poll of nearly 9000 California voters, almost two-thirds of them were in support of mask mandates in K-12 schools. Nevertheless, the decision to loosen the restrictions on the mask mandates was made, as described by Governor Gavin Newsom, as “based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic.”  Although masks are an effective tool to prevent the spread of the vicious disease COVID-19, the decision to remove the mandates has been made on the assurance that the majority of California, and especially the Bay Area, is vaccinated and responsible.