The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

California and New York reinstate indoor mask mandates amid omicron concerns

A coronavirus testing site in New York's Times Square on Dec. 5. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

This live coverage has ended. For the latest coronavirus news, click here.

California and New York will once again require residents to wear masks indoors, reinstating mandates as officials chart a worrying increase in omicron variant infections and Americans gear up for a busy holiday travel season.

In California, where more than 4,500 new cases are being reported every day, the statewide mandate will take effect Wednesday and last at least until Jan. 15. And in New York, with more than 10,500 new cases per day, the mandate took effect Monday and applies to all public spaces that have not implemented a vaccine requirement.

Officials in both states said the new measures were meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus — especially omicron — amid fears of another deadly winter wave. They also acknowledged that the moves underscore an exhausting truth about the pandemic: It is far from over.

Here’s what to know

  • The Supreme Court declined to stop New York’s coronavirus vaccination mandate for health-care workers that does not include an exception for religious objectors.
  • The Air Force removed 27 people for failing to obey orders to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, marking the U.S. military’s first apparent dismissals of those who refuse the shots.
  • Philadelphia officials said that proof of vaccination will be required for entry to all indoor spaces that serve food or beverages for on-site consumption. The mandate is set to take effect Jan. 3.
  • Britain’s Boris Johnson reports the country’s first known death from the omicron variant, which officials say was spreading at a phenomenal rate.
Press Enter to skip to end of carousel

Here's what to know:

The Supreme Court declined to stop New York’s coronavirus vaccination mandate for health-care workers that does not include an exception for religious objectors.
The Air Force removed 27 people for failing to obey orders to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, marking the U.S. military’s first apparent dismissals of those who refuse the shots.
Philadelphia officials said that proof of vaccination will be required for entry to all indoor spaces that serve food or beverages for on-site consumption. The mandate is set to take effect Jan. 3.
Britain’s Boris Johnson reports the country’s first known death from the omicron variant, which officials say was spreading at a phenomenal rate.

1/4

End of carousel

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will likely knock out monoclonal antibodies, targeted drugs that can be used as a treatment or to protect immunocompromised people.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

For the latest news, sign up for our free newsletter.

Loading...