BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A statewide mask mandate goes into effect Wednesday throughout the holiday season. The move is aimed to curb cases of the new omicron variant as people gather with family and friends during the holidays.
While several California counties already have mask mandates in place, Kern County is not one of them. But the Kern County Public Health Department said they will follow the state’s guidelines.
The mandate comes as health officials said across the state the seven-day case rate has increased by 47% since thanksgiving.
Hospitalizations have also increased by 14%.
The mandate requires everyone to wear a mask for indoor, public settings regardless of vaccination status.
Michelle Corson with the Kern County Public Health Department said while it is a state mandate it is important for local residents to continue listening to safety measures.
“We continue to ask our community to adhere to any of the state-issued mandates and guidance as we have throughout the pandemic, however, this is a state mandate, so we encourage everyone to use the tools at our disposal to protect ourselves from the transmission of COVID-19,” said Corson.
Corson added in addition to masking, those tools include getting vaccinated getting your booster shot staying home when you’re sick, and focusing on your overall health.
But when it comes to enforcement of the mandate, Corson said locally they don’t have the ability to enforce the state mandate, but she also adds they have not let the county know what the enforcement efforts look like.
“We know that this is indeed a state mandate, we suggest and recommend that our community continues to follow any of these state mandates, we suggest and recommend that our community continues to follow any of these state mandates, and we have not heard how they will be going about enforcement, whether or not that is going to be part of the way that this next four week is handled through the state,” said Corson.
California is also recommending that people who travel be tested for covid-19 within three to five days of their return.
As for the mandate it will last through January 15th but state health officials have made it clear they will continue to monitor transmission rates as another surge is expected in February after the holidays.
According to AP, California is exempting San Francisco from the mandate citing the fact that nearly 90% of the eligible residents in San Francisco have received at least one dose of the vaccine.