(KTXL) — The governors of California, Oregon and Washington released a joint announcement Monday saying the three West Coast states will shift away from requiring masks indoors for most public spaces, including schools.
Starting March 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom said masks will no longer be required but instead strongly recommended for unvaccinated people.
Then, after March 11, Newsom said schools and child care facilities will fall under that same guidance.
California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward.California Gov. Gavin Newsom
Masks will still be required in higher-risk settings, which include public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.
At 1 p.m., California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will hold a conference with members of the press to go over COVID-19 updates. FOX40 will stream Dr. Ghaly’s video conference live in this story.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said her state’s mask mandate would be lifted after 11:59 p.m. March 11 and Gov. Jay Inslee said Washington will do the same. The Washington State Department of Health will have more information for schools next week, the governor added.
Californians were already told to anticipate more updates to the state’s guidance as Newsom and health officials lifted mask mandates for vaccinated people on Feb. 15. But at the time, students and teachers were told they would have to wait.
Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a national shift away from mask-wearing. The CDC said it is focusing its mask guidance on hospitalizations, hospital bed availability and new cases.
U.S. counties have been categorized into orange for high COVID-19 transmission, yellow for medium and green for low. In areas with medium and low transmission rates, most people are no longer recommended to cover their face indoors. The newly-released CDC map showed about half of California counties in green and yellow, including Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin and Placer counties.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.