California health officials announced Monday the state will not lift its mask mandate for another month, despite new federal recommendations that say fully vaccinated people can take their masks off in most indoor and outdoor places.
Under state rules right now, fully vaccinated people can take their masks off outdoors, except in large crowds. But indoors, people should keep their masks on if outside of their own home.
After almost a year of mandatory masks in California, some said one more month is no big deal. "In the end, it's not that big a sacrifice to keep people safe," said Tom in Palm Desert. "We're vaccinated and we're still wearing a mask."
Others said as vaccinations become more widespread, the need for masks is beginning to phase out.
"Out on the open street, I'm done with it," said Bret McVicker. "I don't like to wear it."
"I think we should move forward, especially if you're vaccinated like I am," said Renee Sampedro.
The revised CDC guidance was announced in response to repeated studies showing the effectiveness of the vaccines, offering people who have been inoculated a great deal of protection against infection or severe illness if
they are infected.
"Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,'' CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
The new CDC guidance does not completely drop mask recommendations for vaccinated people. Face coverings are still recommended in some settings -- such as aboard planes and buses or in crowded settings such as hospitals
To critics who see a contradiction with CDC guidance, Ghaly said Monday, "We just feel that... implementation of this is important, and giving California some time to do it in a way that allows it to be done well without a level of confusion is where we are now."
"This is in no way saying the CDC guidance is wrong or challenging that science," Ghaly said, explaining the June 15 date is not a challenge to the CDC data that brought the decision, but a "continued focus on protecting the public's health in mind." The date was chosen in part, to help employers and workplaces prepare for the new guidelines.
Supermarket chains including Trader Joe's, Costco and Walmart have dropped the mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers, though store officials said they will not be asking for proof of vaccination.
California will keep guidelines for masking in schools "as is."