The order, which went into effect this week, comes in response to rising Covid-19 cases in the city. The indoor masking requirement covers not only public spaces and businesses, but also private homes. Residents are required to mask up, regardless of vaccination status, if anyone is in the home who does not regularly live there – something that is highly common during the holiday season.
If one is around people from other households, it is recommended they only remove their mask when eating or drinking.
The strict health guidelines have sparked outrage among some, with critics describing the mandates for private homes as government overreach and an attempt to make people “as miserable as possible” at Thanksgiving.
According to the order, being in violation of the new health guidelines could be “punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.”
A previous indoor mask mandate in Santa Cruz was lifted in September. Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Ghilarducci said in his announcement that the quick reversal indicates that the “science is evolving,” but not that the county “can’t make up our minds.”
Having an “endless mask mandate,” the doctor argued, “may actually undermine credibility” more than the county going back and forth on mask enforcement.
Health officials said coronavirus cases in the county have surged by 29% in the last two weeks and they are predicting further rises from a potential “winter surge.”
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