State’s current mask guidance to remain in effect until June 15

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced today, May 17, that the state’s current mask policies will remain in effect until June 15, at which time the state will follow the CDC guidance in place at that time.

“This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines, particularly to undeserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,” Ghaly said.

June 15 is also the day that California plans to drop nearly all COVID-19 restrictions, including the color-coded county tier system. Plumas County is currently in the orange tier.

Ghaly said that local jurisdictions can opt to enforce stricter COVID-19 safety requirements than the state, but they cannot be less strict. Plumas County Public Health spokeswoman Lori Beatley said last week that the county would adhere to new state guidelines when they are announced.


According to the new CDC guidelines, anyone who has been vaccinated can remove the mask indoors or outdoors, with a few exceptions such as healthcare settings and public transportation. However, in California, individuals still have to wear a mask indoors unless meeting with other vaccinated people.

Following is the complete guidance for California:

  1. For fully vaccinated persons, face coverings are not required outdoors except when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
  2. For unvaccinated persons, face coverings are required outdoors any time physical distancing cannot be maintained, including when attending crowded outdoor events, such as live performances, parades, fairs, festivals, sports events, or other similar settings.
  3. In indoor settings outside of one’s home, including public transportation, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status, except as outlined below.
  4. As defined in the CDPH Fully Vaccinated Persons Guidance, fully vaccinated people can*:
    • Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with other fully vaccinated people in indoor or outdoor settings; and
    • Visit, without wearing masks or physical distancing, with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease in indoor and outdoor settings
  5. Exemptions:
    • The following specific settings are exempt from face covering requirements:
      • Persons in a car alone or solely with members of their own household,
      • Persons who are working alone in a closed office or room,
      • Persons who are obtaining a medical or cosmetic service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service,
      • Workers who wear respiratory protection, or
      • Persons who are specifically exempted from wearing face coverings by other CDPH guidance.
    • The following individuals are exempt from wearing face coverings at all times:
      • Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation.
      • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.*
      • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
      • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

*Note: Persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition who are employed in a job involving regular contact with others must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.