Palm Springs residents will still be required to wear masks indoors regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, despite Tuesday's lifting of the statewide mask mandate.
State officials announced last week that the indoor mask wearing requirement for vaccinated people will expire at the end of the day Tuesday.
Despite this, the Palm Springs City Council on Feb. 10 voted to give City Manager Justin Clifton the authority to decide when to remove the city's COVID-19 restrictions.
City spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell said Tuesday that the decision will be based on milestones such as consecutive weeks in decline in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Blaisdell added that the recent decline in cases has not been as significant in Palm Springs and Riverside County as in other areas of the state.
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Additionally, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is still required in restaurants and bars in Palm Springs.
"We hope these trends will continue to decline and that Palm Springs can align its requirements with the state of California very soon,'' Clifton said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said the lifting of the mandate for vaccinated individuals is the result of a 65% drop in the infection rate since the peak of the winter surge caused by the Omicron variant, as well as a stabilization in hospitalization numbers. But he stressed that "unvaccinated people will still need to wear masks indoors.''
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The mask-wearing requirement will also remain in effect for everyone in select indoor locations, such as public transit centers, airports, schools, emergency shelters, health care facilities, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care and senior care facilities.