California postpones lifting mask mandates on schools for now, legislature could impose vaccine mandates on more Californians

Today California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state would not lift mask mandates on schools at this time but will reassess the situation on February 28. The state is lifting mask mandates on most Californians beginning Wednesday, February 16.

Last week Governor Newsom said that teacher’s unions are not yet ready to ease masking mandates.

From Cal Matters:

California’s statewide mask mandate for indoor businesses is set to expire for vaccinated residents after Tuesday — a milestone that will make schools’ strict face covering requirements stand out in even starker relief.

Democratic lawmakers, on the other hand, are doubling down on COVID mandates.

Assemblymember Buffy Wicks of Oakland unveiled a sweeping proposal Friday that would require all businesses — regardless of size — to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees and independent contractors, except those who qualify for medical or religious exemptions considered valid by state regulators. Noncompliant businesses would face unspecified financial penalties.

  • Wicks: “The pathway to endemic, for us to get back to some sense of normalcy, is through vaccines.”
  • Wicks also said lawmakers are considering introducing vaccine-related legislation for people entering businesses.

Wicks’ bill is the latest to emerge from a vaccine work group of Democratic lawmakers. The group has also proposed requiring the COVID vaccine for all students except those granted rare medical exemptions, allowing kids 12 and older to get vaccinated without parental consent, and permitting schools to check students’ vaccination status in the state’s private immunization database.

Should those bills pass the state Legislature, it would be up to Newsom — who appears reluctant to impose more mandates on Californians — to decide whether to sign them into law.

  • Newsom: “The Legislature is adjudicating their approach to it, and we’ll see where we land on that over the course of the next few months.”

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