California returns to mandatory use of masks in closed public places.
The State registered a 47% increase in infections from Thanksgiving to the end of November.
California authorities announced on Monday the restoration of the mandatory use of a mask inside closed public places to stop a rebound in COVID-19 cases in that State in recent weeks.
The measure, which takes effect on Wednesday, applies to all people, vaccinated or not.
Since December, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and several California counties had already reestablished local enforcement, but in other densely populated counties like Orange and San Diego, only the State's mask-wearing rules applied in some public places like airports. Hospitals and schools, but not in shops, restaurants, or movie theaters.
The mandate will come into effect on Wednesday, 15, and will apply until January 15, 2022, if not extended.
California Health Secretary Mark Ghaly justified the decision in the wake of the rapid progression of COVID cases, which had a 47% increase from Thanksgiving to late November.
The first case of the omicron variety in the United States was found in a San Francisco resident who went to South Africa and was vaccinated.
In California, the number of new cases of the corona virus rose daily from 9.6 to 14 per 100,000 inhabitants.The wearing of masks could, according to Ghaly, prevent a recurrence of infections and deaths like the one suffered in that State last winter.
"This is a critical moment, and we have a tool that we know has worked in the past (...) if you look at the evidence of its effectiveness, even a 10% increase in mask use indoors can significantly reduce the transmission of the virus, "he explained.
This measure will be mandatory until January 15.
California has also tightened controls on unvaccinated people who wish to attend events of more than 1,000 participants in an enclosed space by requiring a negative COVID-19 test performed between 24 and 48 hours before (depending on the type of test), instead of the 72 hours previously required.
The announcement of the Californian authorities occurs the same day of the entrance in force of a similar measure in New York.
Authorities again called for the population to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in California, where 77.7% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. "Californians have done this before, and of course, we think we can do it again," Ghaly said.