By: Leila Rocha
As of 12:01 am on Wednesday, February 16, if you are vaccinated you will be exempt from having to wear a mask indoors. However, the mask mandate has not been lifted for people who are unvaccinated, anyone in K-12 schools, public transport, and nursing homes.
With the end of the omicron surge and a 72% reduction in positive cases, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has decided to lift the mask mandate. The lifting of mask mandates again is a big step to take during the pandemic. However, this step is quite controversial. Some people feel that it is too soon for the mask mandate to be lifted while others are excited for a sense of normality.
Professor of public health at Cal State East Bay, Mike Stanton, stated, ¨I really want to see cases go down, deaths go down, before we lift any mask mandates. With such high occupancy in the hospitals, it’s not a safe time yet to get sick or to have an injury or to have an accident.¨ Along with some being concerned over the safety of lifting the mask mandate, others are concerned about people being dishonest about being vaccinated. Twitter user Amy commented under Newsom´s post about lifting the mask mandate, ¨If they aren’t vaccinated at this point do you really think they will wear a mask indoors unless forced to?¨
In addition to this, some twitter users have raised the point that so many kids are still ineligible to get vaccinated. Therefore, allowing people in public to not wear masks around them may compromise their health. User thnx suggested, ¨millions of kids under five will likely become newly eligible for vaccination by the end of the month. why rush this.¨
In contrast, some think that lifting the mask mandate was a step in the right direction. Twitter user Jeremiah Boehner suggested, ¨End it now, end all the restrictions.¨ Andre Levisque is also for the removal masks, ¨Let’s remove it today. After all, you do still have those handy dandy authoritarian emergency powers to do so. 705 days and counting!¨
Also, some are confused as to why wearing no masks is exclusive to vaccinated people. Along with twitter users wondering why the mask mandate is being lifted, others like Joey Ruiz are wondering, ¨Why would the unvaccinated need to wear masks still?¨ Experts have confirmed that not being vaccinated increases your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.
In conclusion, the lifting of California mask mandates is a controversial topic. However, the lifted mandate is a lifted mandate so feel free to take your mask off in Safeway if you are vaccinated. However, if you want to be more conscious of your health and others, you should leave it on.