California will not lift its mask mandate until after June 15

Kaleb Powers, 14, getting his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.


Health officials announced Monday that California will not follow updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on wearing masks until possibly after June 15.

“Following recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance related to masking for fully vaccinated people, the County of San Luis Obispo reminds residents and visitors that the State of California’s updated guidance for the use of face coverings remains in effect in California, including San Luis Obispo County,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “This guidance mandates face masks in indoor settings, with few exceptions.”

The CDC announced last week that fully vaccinated people can resume indoors and outdoors activities without wearing a masks or distancing, regardless of the size of the gathering, if permitted by state and local governments. The update was based on studies showing that even if infected with COVID-19, fully vaccinated people generally do not pass on the virus and are not at risk of serious complications.

Aside from New Jersey, California remains one of the only states in the union not to adopt the new CDC guidelines. On Wednesday, fully vaccinated New Yorkers can stop wearing masks in most settings.

Currently, California has one of the slowest rates of COVID-19 spread in the country, with a seven day average of 3.2 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Even so, state officials want to give Californians time to prepare for the change while focusing on vaccinations.

Last week, San Luis Obispo County began vaccinating residents age 12. You can sign up for a vaccine through Recover SLO. The vaccine is free of charge for those without insurance.

Teens and their parents wait for 30 minutes following their vaccination appointments at Cuesta College. Photo by Kaleb Powers

Because of FDA regulations, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for minors. Those under age 18 will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.