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California will lift mask mandate as omicron cases fall

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 02:38:37-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's indoor masking requirement will end next week for vaccinated people but masks still are the rule for schoolchildren.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration brought back the masking mandate in mid-December as the omicron variant gained momentum, and last month extended it through Feb. 15. State health officials said Monday the mandate will end that day.

Local health officials can continue their own requirements, however. The state also is lifting a requirement that people test negative before visiting hospitals and nursing homes, effective immediately.

Meantime, health officials say they are continuing to evaluate the masking requirement for schoolchildren.

Some San Diego businesses are celebrating this latest development in the mask mandate’s status.

"We've been watching the county numbers, the state numbers and COVID numbers have been going down. We feel good about that,” Boris Zavurov, Owner of Vince's Barbershop, said. “We're excited to get these off now and get back to business."

Other businesses said the most recent mandate took a bite out of their revenue.

"Right before when they put the mandates with the mask, instantly we lost 25 to 30 percent of our revenue immediately. People started canceling,” Sarah Arjmand, Director of Marketing for Greystone Prime Steakhouse & Seafood, said.

"We have seen a little bit of a slowdown in business with regulars not coming in with Omicron,” Zavurov said.

While the omicron surge seems to be slowing, a thought for some businesses is to be ready in case another possible surge ramps again.

"That's definitely a fear that we all have as a business owner. Because we move two steps forward and one step back. And it's been a constant thing,” Arjmand said.

"If there is another outbreak, we'll be prepared for it. And , we'll do what's necessary to operate,” Zavurov said.