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What to Know About New Masking Guidelines in California

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A CVS pharmacy branch in Monterey Park, Calif.Credit…Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Good morning.

The Delta variant is really throwing a wrench into our vaccinated summer.

The super contagious strain of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, leading, once again, to a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths, prompting leaders to reverse course on guidance that if you’re inoculated, you can go almost anywhere without a face covering.

On Tuesday, federal health authorities recommended that in many places, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear masks when they’re in indoor public settings, although just two months ago, they said that inoculated Americans didn’t need to.

Time and again, experts have said that vaccines are the most important protection. If you’ve been vaccinated and you are infected, they have said, you are unlikely to get seriously sick.

But while a relatively high share of Californians have gotten their shots, the number of cases among the state’s unvaccinated is surging.

Speaking in Fresno on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state was working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He also implored residents to get vaccinated — a call he has repeated over many months, including with a lottery wheel and gold lame by his side.

“I’m never going to give up,” he said, this time standing alongside Fresno’s Republican mayor, Jerry Dyer. “We’re going to meet people where they are. We’re not by any stretch throwing our hands up.”

In any case, guidance about when and wear Californians have to mask up has changed since the state’s grand reopening on June 15, as have rules about who must be vaccinated in order to return to work without being tested regularly. Here’s what to know:

Where will vaccines be mandatory?

In California, a growing number of public employers — including the state and a handful of cities, like San Francisco, Long Beach and Los Angeles — are requiring employees to either prove that they have been vaccinated or get tested regularly.

Statewide, health care workers are also required to be vaccinated or tested. (And yes, your employer can require you to be vaccinated.)

On Tuesday, leaders of the California State University, the nation’s largest four-year public university system, announced they would follow the University of California in requiring students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated before coming to campus.

Also, more and more bars and restaurants across the state have begun requiring patrons who want to go inside to show proof they have been vaccinated or provide negative test results.

This week, a San Francisco bar industry group formally recommended that step: “Look, this is what we need to do to protect our staff and families,” Ben Bleiman, president of the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance and the owner of Soda Popinksi’s and Teeth bars, told Eater San Francisco. “The data doesn’t lie.

When and where should I wear a mask?

According to the new C.D.C. guidelines, vaccinated people need to wear masks only in regions where transmission rates are “high or substantial,” which means 50 new infections per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days, or where more than 8 percent of tests are positive for infection over that period.

According to CalMatters, that’s 45 of California’s 58 counties, where 96 percent of the state’s population lives.

So, if you want to err on the side of caution — which experts have advised, given transmission across the country — you may want to mask up when you go inside a store, movie theater or church. (The C.D.C. urged anybody at a school to wear a mask, regardless of transmission rates in the surrounding area, so ditto that if you’re a teacher, student or school parent.)

You’ll recall that Los Angeles County officials have gone a step further and mandated masks in all indoor public settings. On Tuesday, Yolo County public health leaders announced they would follow suit, effective on July 30.

What is the state doing to encourage more people to get vaccinated?

In short, officials are trying a lot.

The state is spending $40 million to work with primary care and small family doctors to help them encourage patients, who may be more likely to trust them, to get vaccinated, Newsom said on Tuesday. Almost 500 community organizations are talking with people who are hesitant. There has been phone banking and state partnerships with barber shops, faith institutions and hundreds of ethnic media outlets.

For more:

Here’s more about the C.D.C.’s new masking guidance for vaccinated people.

Read more about how the state’s new vaccine mandates have been met with some resistance — including among health care workers.

If you missed it, read a conversation with Dr. Barbara Ferrer about Los Angeles County’s mask mandate.

Vaccinated and confused? Here are answers to more questions you might have about masking and the Delta variant.

See coronavirus case numbers and vaccination rates across California.

Here’s what else to know today

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Border Patrol agents questioning undocumented migrants from Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala who walked toward the border wall in Yuma, Ariz., in May.Credit…Ariana Drehsler for The New York Times

Compiled by Mariel Wamsley and Jordan Allen

The Biden administration announced late Monday that it would remove migrant families that immigration officials had determined did not qualify for asylum after an initial screening at the southwestern border.

Democrats are fighting to win back the Latino population after a scant voting turnout in the 2020 election.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has removed his children from summer camp after photos of his son sitting unmasked with other unmasked children surfaced, according to The Sacramento Bee. Many opposed to California’s restrictions believe the governor was hypocritical for sending his children to the camp.

The Los Angeles Times reported on sexual assault allegations against Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, his long history of internet-based controversy, and the potential end of his career.

KSBY reports that California Senator Steven Bradford is proposing a bill that would allow the state to decertify police officers for misconduct.

Democratic lawmakers pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promptly reinstate California’s authority to set regulations and mandates for vehicle emissions, reports Reuters. The waiver was initially revoked by the Trump administration in 2019.

San Francisco is attempting to seize control over Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s power lines in the city by petitioning the California Public Utilities Commission to study the value of PG&E’s local electric equipment, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

According to SFGate, Facebook announced plans to start building a “village” by its headquarters in Menlo Park as soon as next year.

As the world reeled from the pandemic, the tech industry boomed.

Luis Grijalva, a runner who grew up in Fairfield, was approved on Monday to travel to Tokyo to compete in the Olympic Games representing his native Guatemala. Because Grijalva is a DACA recipient, he is not ordinarily allowed to leave the country and return.

In Los Angeles’ Jichan’s Onigiri-ya, patrons can get warm, tender, generously filled onigiri shaped to order. And after collecting 10 stamps on its cards of goofy, grinning, cartoon onigiri, diners get a single rice ball on the house. It’s just one place that’s riffing on the home style Japanese snack.

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A variety of onigiri at RIKE in Downtown Los Angeles. Credit…Jessica Pons for The New York Times

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read every edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter.

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