California will end its indoor masking requirement for vaccinated people next week but masks still are the rule for schoolchildren, state health officials announced amid rapidly falling coronavirus cases.
After Feb. 15, unvaccinated people will still be required to be masked indoors, and everyone — vaccinated or not — will have to wear masks in higher-risk areas like public transit and nursing homes and other congregate living facilities, officials said. Local governments can continue their own indoor masking requirements and last week Los Angeles County's health officials said they intend to keep theirs in place beyond the state deadline.
State officials also announced that Indoor "mega events" with more than 1,000 people will have to require vaccinations or negative tests for those attending and those who are unvaccinated will be required to wear masks. For outdoor events with more than 10,000 people, there is no vaccination requirement but masks or negative tests are recommended.
Those thresholds increase from the current 500 attendees for indoor and 5,000 attendees for outdoor events. The increased threshold comes as Sunday's Super Bowl will draw as many as 100,000 football fans to SoFi Stadium outside Los Angeles.
With coronavirus cases falling fast, California also is lifting a requirement that people produce a negative coronavirus test before visiting hospitals and nursing homes, effective immediately.
California has seen a 65% drop in case rates since the peak during the wintertime omicron surge.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.