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SACRAMENTO, California (LifeSiteNews) — The Democrat stronghold of California has re-imposed a broad statewide indoor mask mandate in response to the new omicron variant of COVID-19.

The move comes in spite of the fact that studies have shown masks mandates to be ineffective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, with cloth masks themselves potentially causing bacterial infections, headaches, and dehydration.

California’s new mandate spans the holiday season and will be in place for at least a month, beginning December 15 and ending January 15 unless renewed.

Prior to the new sweeping mandate, roughly half of California counties already had local mask orders in place. Wednesday’s statewide mandate forces the remaining 50% of counties to require masks in indoor spaces for all people, regardless of vaccination status.

Californians were given just two days to react to the reimposition of the requirement, with health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announcing the new rules on Monday.

“We are proactively putting this tool of universal indoor masking in public settings in place to ensure we get through a time of joy and hope without a darker cloud of concern and despair,” Ghaly said.

In addition to requiring universal indoor masking in public spaces, the Golden State will also require proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend a large gathering with 1,000 or more people. People entering California are also advised, but not required, to get tested for the virus within five days.

The mandate will force all of California’s public spaces, including churches, to require masks throughout the Christmas season.

This isn’t the first time California’s COVID-19 policies have put a damper on the holidays.

Last year, the state’s Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom drew criticism for releasing a lengthy list of “guidelines” surrounding Californians’ Thanksgiving celebrations. The guidelines sought to restrict holiday gatherings to outdoor events attended by no more than three households, with participants masked, surfaces sanitized, and singing and shouting discouraged.

California’s new measures come in response to the spread of the new omicron variant of COVID-19, which has largely impacted “fully vaccinated” people. A CDC study found that of the 43 omicron “cases” identified in the United States in early December, some 79% were “fully vaccinated,” and 14% of those had already gotten a booster dose.

One hospitalization and no deaths were reported in connection with the new variant. The hospitalized person had been “fully vaccinated.”

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