California has reinstated a mask mandate for all lawmakers and staff at the state Capitol in Sacramento ― regardless of their vaccination status ― following a recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases among legislative staffers.
At least nine legislative employees have tested positive for the coronavirus in about a week. Four of those cases involved people who had been fully vaccinated, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In light of the outbreak, Secretary of the Senate Erika Contreras said in a Wednesday memo that all lawmakers in the California Legislature and Capitol staff will be required to “wear a mask at all times while in the Capitol, Legislative Office Building and district offices, regardless of vaccine status,” KCRA reported.
All unvaccinated employees will also be required to undergo coronavirus testing twice a week.
“As we know from the most recent cases, even fully vaccinated individuals can be infected with COVID-19,” Contreras said in the memo. “However, public health experts indicate that fully vaccinated individuals are less likely to suffer the most serious symptoms of the COVID-19.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, have said that fully vaccinated people can “resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws.”
At a Wednesday press conference, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions will not be necessary if more Californians get vaccinated.
“If we continue to get people vaccinated, that will be unnecessary,” he said. “And this is the call to anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated: Get vaccinated. What more evidence do you need [than what’s] going on with this delta variant?”