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California's Santa Cruz County mandates mask-wearing in private homes


ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

An indoor mask mandate has been reinstated in Santa Cruz County, California, after a surge in winter coronavirus cases has led to increased hospitalizations.

The county health department is requiring that people wear face coverings in indoor settings, including in private homes. The mandate went into effect on Sunday at 11:59 p.m, after the county reported a seven-day average of 72 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people — placing it in the "substantial" transmission category, according to the CDC.

"Unfortunately, a potential winter surge appears to be a significant threat to the health and safety of our community," Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gaill Newel said in a statement.

Both people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not are required to wear face coverings indoors. Business and governmental entities are being told to require their employees to wear masks and to post signage at points of entry for their indoor settings to alert the public of the mask requirement.

Anyone who works in a closed room or office by themselves or with members of the same household does not have to wear a mask. The health department's statement also clarifies that masks are not required during indoor activities where they "cannot be worn safely," which includes eating, drinking, swimming, showering in a fitness facility, or obtaining medical or cosmetic services.


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