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California Will Lift Mask Mandate As Omicron Cases Fall

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.