All Faithful Expected to Wear Mask at Indoor Services

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego is expecting all faithful to wear a mask at its indoor public Masses and other indoor services, regardless of vaccination status, starting on Dec. 15. A new state mandate takes effect that day, announced by the California Department of Public Health to respond to the spike in cases and hospitalizations across the state and the detection of the Omicron variant.

The diocese announced the mask requirement on Dec. 14 in a letter from Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan to pastors.

“We ask all parishioners, out of concern for their own personal health risk due to the new variant and the general concern for the health of others, to comply with the new requirement,” wrote Bishop Dolan in his letter.

The mandate will be in effect until Jan. 15, 2022, when state health authorities said it would be re-evaluated. It’s the latest one issued by the state to slow the spread of COVID-19, which had claimed more than 74,700 Californians as of mid-December, at an average rate of 49 per day.