California reinstates mask mandate on restaurant customers and staff


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California restaurant patrons will be required from Wednesday to wear a face mask regardless of their vaccination or COVID-19 test status if they wish to dine indoors, the Health Agency announced Monday evening. state social services.

The requirement also applies to restaurant workers, the agency said. It is expected to last until January 15.

Health officials said the mandate was aimed at smoothing out an ever-growing spike in coronavirus infections in the state. They also expressed fears that the push, usually linked to the delta variant of the coronavirus, could be intensified by the new omicron strain. Scientists say they suspect the omicron virus is more transmissible because of the way it has mutated.

With the move, California is joining the sudden parade of jurisdictions imposing new security protocols in hopes of tempering a winter wave of new COVID cases. New coronavirus infections have increased by 47% per day on average over a week, and hospitalizations jumped 14%.

“Even a moderate increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations could have a significant impact on the California health care delivery system in parts of the state,” Health and Human Services said in announcing the new mandate. .

Simultaneously with the California decision, Philadelphia announced it would require restaurant patrons to be vaccinated against COVID if they wish to dine at an establishment after January 3. Their only other option will be to provide proof that they have tested negative for the disease within the previous 24 hours. This loophole will be closed on January 17.

Meanwhile, New York on Monday imposed a warrant that state restaurants require customers to show proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID or wear a face mask when not eating or drinking.

California has more restaurants than any other state. During the nationwide COVID outbreak a year ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom reimposed a number of security protocols on the industry, including a new round of capacity caps, as the number of cases climbed in arrow.

These measures also included a mandate requiring all domestic customers of businesses open to the public to be required to wear masks. This mandate was lifted by the governor about four months ago.

Two of its largest cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, have imposed vaccination requirements on restaurant patrons.

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