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California to lift mask mandate next week, what this means locally

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the state-wide indoor mask mandate will end next week on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

However, local health officials can continue their own requirements.

"Santa Barbara County Public Health officials are closely reviewing the State’s decision to let the State Health Officer Order for indoor masking expire on February 15," said Jackie Ruiz, Public Information Officer for SB County Public Health. "County Public Health will share soon if any modifications will be made to the existing Local Health Officer Order."

"Please note, confirmation has not been received by our team regarding the hospitals and skilled nursing facilities," said Ruiz. "Typically a notice is sent from the State and our team has not received one."

As for San Luis Obispo County, health officials said the county's masking requirements currently remain in place.

Michelle Shoresman, SLO County Public Health information officer, released the following statement:

Masking is a proven public health measure and an important tool in limiting the spread of disease. Returning to indoor masking for a period of time has helped protect our hospital capacity, protect many of our most vulnerable neighbors, and help keep our economy open during surges fueled by the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19.

Dr. Borenstein and local officials regularly review current local metrics -- including transmission levels, health care system capacity, vaccination rates and the availability of COVID-19 treatments -- to evaluate whether there is a need to continue local masking requirements.

Currently, SLO County's masking requirement remains in place. If that changes, we will announce that change as soon as it happens.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health

In Ventura County, Public Health officials said they are aware of the announcement but don't yet have a statement in response.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Lily Dallow

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