State gives business owners three options under new mask rules

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Business owners in Winters and across the state have three options as the state’s revised face-mask guidance went into effect on Tuesday. They can ask patrons to self-attest that they are vaccinated if they enter unmasked; they can implement a vaccine verification system (presumably asking to see a vaccine card); or they can simply require all patrons to continue wearing a face covering. The state’s new guidance will also make clear that “no person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business,” according to Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services. Ghaly outlined the forthcoming mask guidance during a media briefing last Wednesday. As the state had previously indicated, June 15 was the day California’s face-covering rules will align with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing fully vaccinated individuals to resume everyday activities without wearing a mask except in a few limited settings. “Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks in indoor, public settings,” Ghaly said. And everyone — vaccinated or not — will have to wear masks in the following settings: * On public transportation, including airplanes, ferries, trains, subways and buses * At transportation hubs such as airports, bus terminals and train stations * Indoors in K-12 schools as well as childcare and other youth settings (though that could change in the weeks ahead, Ghaly said). * In healthcare settings, including longterm care facilities * At state and local correctional facilities and detention centers * At homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers The unvaccinated will be required to wear masks in indoor public settings and businesses, including retail sites, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers and state and local government offices serving the public, Ghaly said. Business owners themselves will be given the choice of how to enforce the rule. Patrons who enter without a mask can be asked to self-attest that they are vaccinated or the business can implement its own verification system. Business owners can also continue to require everyone to mask up. “We are giving all three options to private and independent operators to choose which is best suited for their community and their business,” said Ghaly, who acknowledged that “some business owners very well may decide the honor system is not sufficient and they’re going to require all patrons to their business are going to wear masks.” Cal-OSHA standards will continue to govern workplaces. Last week, the agency issued new standards requiring that employees continue to wear masks in some cases, including if anyone working in a room is unvaccinated. Yolo County residents have been required to wear face coverings in public for more than a year, since former county health officer Dr. Ron Chapman issued the order on April 24, 2020. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide mandatory face-mask order a month later. But last month, the CDC issued new recommendations saying fully vaccinated individuals need not wear face coverings or physically distance in most settings. The state held off on implementing the guidance until California’s planned “reopening” next week. On June 15, the state ditched its color-coded, tier-based blueprint that has governed what activities are allowed county by county, with capacity limits on businesses tied to the level of COVID-19 spread in the community. Beginning Tuesday, all restrictions are lifted except on “mega events.” The reopening comes as fewer than half of Yolo County’s residents are fully vaccinated.

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