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California HHS rebuffs CDC, extends mask guidance through mid-June

California state health officials announced this week that they will extend a mask mandate through June 15, despite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that lifted many of the restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

“Until June 15, when California plans to fully reopen the economy, California will keep our existing guidance around masks in place,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, MD, said in a media release.

“On June 15, California plans to implement the CDC’s guidelines around masking to allow fully vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings,” Ghaly said. “This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change while we continue our relentless focus on delivering vaccines, particularly in underserved communities.”

The announcement came just days after the CDC loosened restrictions on mask usage for fully vaccinated people. The announcement got mixed reactions from across the political and healthcare spectrums, with some complaining that the new guidelines were confusing, and others complaining that they were long overdue.