Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Masking in an Age of Reopening

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 7:04 PM

Two of Humboldt County's local COVID-19 health orders were lifted today as the state moves toward reopening.

All California residents are now covered by an order from the state Department of Public Health, which lifts mask and social distancing protocols for fully vaccinated individuals in many situations, although local businesses may apply their own requirements.

Those who are not vaccinated are still required to remain masked in indoor public settings under the state order.

"According to CDPH, businesses have three options to accommodate unvaccinated individuals: Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry. Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask. Require all patrons to wear masks," a news release from the county states.

Places where masks are still required include:
  • Public transit and transportation hubs
  • Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings
  • Health care settings
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
  • Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers
Under the state order, no one can be denied entry to a business or prevented from participating in an activity because they choose to wear a mask.

CalOSHA, which regulates employment settings, is expected to release new guidance on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Humboldt County continues to have COVID-19 case and test positivity rates that far-outpace the rest of the state, with another death and two more hospitalizations due to the virus reported today, along with nine new cases.

Of the 47 people who have died and 199 who have been admitted since the beginning of the pandemic, none were vaccinated, according to the county.


“Those who are fully vaccinated can go without masking or distancing with confidence,” Humboldt County Health Office Ian Hoffman said in the county's release. “Our local (Emergency Operations Center) team has spent countless hours, and community members have done their part to get us through this. Removing these orders shows that our hard work has paid off.

“Anyone who is still unvaccinated, including 13 percent of the population who are ineligible due to age, we continue to encourage adherence to all public health guidelines until you are fully vaccinated.”

The State of California has retired the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” and Humboldt County — effective today — has lifted two local health orders, removing nearly all COVID-19 pandemic-related precautions.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman rescinded the Shelter-in-Place and Facial Coverings orders originally issued more than a year ago. Isolation & Quarantine Orders remain in effect and will be reviewed and revised in the coming days to reflect the most recent guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

All California residents now fall under the State Public Health Officer Order issued on June 11, which outlines ongoing COVID-19 safety measures. As of today, fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to maintain physical distance or wear masks in most settings. Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks in indoor public settings, and all people must wear masks in the following places, regardless of vaccination status.
Public transit and transportation hubs
Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings
Health care settings
State and local correctional facilities and detention centers Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers.

Read the state’s order in full at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Order-of-the-State-Public-Health-Officer-Beyond-Blueprint.aspx.

Employers and employees are regulated by CalOSHA regulations put in place in November of last year, which require masking in the workplace. CalOSHA is expected to update COVID-19 safety standards this Thursday to more closely align with the state’s masking order. Customer masking is determined by an individual business’s policies.

According to CDPH, businesses have three options to accommodate unvaccinated individuals: Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry. Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask. Require all patrons to wear masks.

CDPH notes that, “No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.”

Read the states’s masking guidance in full at cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx. Dr. Hoffman called this a good day for county residents and businesses and described the removal of local and state health orders as an “important milestone” that demonstrates the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Those who are fully vaccinated can go without masking or distancing with confidence,” Dr. Hoffman said. “Our local EOC team has spent countless hours, and community members have done their part to get us through this. Removing these orders shows that our hard work has paid off.”

Dr. Hoffman continued to urge caution for those who are unvaccinated or not yet old enough to get vaccinated.

“Anyone who is still unvaccinated, including 13% of the population who are ineligible due to age, we continue to encourage adherence to all public health guidelines until you are fully vaccinated.”

Read the local order rescinding previous orders at humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/96535/Rescind-SIP-Mask-Order—-June-15-2021. 
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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