The Huntington Beach City Council in California has voted 4-3 to pursue a ban on universal mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates within the city. The motion’s proponent argued that previous mask mandates imposed in 2020 and 2021 unnecessarily limited people’s freedoms. The resolution now requests that the city manager declare Huntington Beach a “no mask and no vaccine mandate city,” regardless of the rates of COVID-19 infections.
Risk level: Low
Recommendation: Responding to debates over mask and vaccine mandates may detract from core messages. If questioned about the effectiveness of masks in a patient-doctor setting, health care providers may emphasize that high-quality masks—worn correctly—can help stop the spread of many respiratory diseases. Key messages should continue to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 vaccines as the best method of protection against severe disease.