Nevada rescinds mask mandate, California to drop indoor requirement

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – In a virtual news conference on Thursday, February 10, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that the state will be rescinding the mask mandate, effectively immediately. As such, masks will no longer be required in public places, regardless of vaccination status. However, employers may still set their own policies and high-risk settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes, will still require masks.

This directive will also include schools. Schoolchildren, teachers, and all other staff will no longer require masks, although schools can still set their own policies and masks will still be required on school buses. While the Governor didn’t want to interrupt the school day with this announcement, he stated no masks in schools will go into effect starting Friday morning. He also stressed that school districts will still need to have plans in place should certain COVID situations arise.

“Everyone wants to get back to their normal life,” Sisolak said.

And while everyone, especially those high at-risk populations, are still free to wear masks for increased protection, the Governor noted situations of people becoming visibly irate and asked for everyone to be considerate of those who choose to still wear masks.

On January 10 of this year, Nevada reported its highest COVID case count. The Governor stated that the rapid decline in case numbers and broader availability in case testing were keys in why the mandate was getting rescinded. The governor emphasized that his decision was based on science, not politics.

Even though Nevada’s positivity rate and new cases per population of 100,000 are higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s thresholds, Sisolak, who is up for reelection this year, felt it was the right time.

The announcement comes on the heels of a handful other states announcing their plans to lift restrictions. Earlier this week in California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s indoor mask mandate for vaccinated people will be dropped once the requirement expires on February 15, masks will still be the rule for schoolchildren. The indoor requirement will still be in place for people unvaccinated.

The Governor announced via Twitter that the state’s case rate has decreased by 65% since the peak of Omicron and that hospitalizations have stabilized across the state.

State officials also announced that high risk areas, such as public transit, will still require a mask – vaccinated or not – and that large events with more than 1,000 people will require proof of vaccination or a negative test. Outdoor events with more than 10,000 people will have no vaccination requirement, but masks are recommended.

California counties will have the right to continue their policies, should they feel the need to retain stricter efforts. The city of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County are expected to fall in line with state’s expiration recommendation.


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