California is forcing young toddlers to wear a mask for the next month, describing the decision as an “added layer of mitigation” against the Omicron variant, which public health officials have described as mild.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the mandate, which goes into effect on Wednesday, December 15, on Monday, “requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status.” It will last until January 15, 2022.
“This new measure brings an added layer of mitigation as the Omicron variant, a Variant of Concern as labeled by the World Health Organization, is detected across California, the United States, and the world and is likely to spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Delta variant,” the CDPH said in a statement, claiming that the month of masking will bring an “additional protection to individuals, families and communities during the holidays.”
The CDPH also claimed the masking requirement has allowed California to keep schools open. Florida has never had a statewide mask mandate and does not mandate it in schools, and they remain open without any more issue than any other state.
The Golden State’s mask requirement applies to virtually everyone, including toddlers, as only those ages under two are exempt. The only other exemptions apply to individuals “with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask,” as well as the hearing impaired.
The final exemption exists for “persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.”
Last month, prior to Thanksgiving, Santa Cruz County in California issued a mask mandate for all indoor settings including private homes, requiring “all individuals to wear a face covering when indoors regardless of vaccination status.”
The moves are reminiscent of the mandates imposed on the American people during the holiday season of 2020, when Democrat leaders issued mask mandates and attempted to place capacity limits on gatherings in private homes.