The Omicron Variant and California’s New Covid Restrictions

Alexis Briggeman, Journalist

It has been over a year and a half since March 13, 2020, the day the world shut down due to Covid-19. Since then it has been a rollercoaster with mandates and rules constantly changing, release of vaccines, and the development of new variants. In June of 2021, California lifted it’s mask mandate for all vaccinated citizens and since then everyday life has slowly started feeling more normal. However with the appearance of the new Omicron variant, COVID cases have begun rising once again. President Joe Biden released a plan on December 2nd in an attempt to combat this rise, which included widespread vaccination, boosters, and testing opposed to large scale lockdowns.

California governor Gavin Newsom then followed with an indoor mask mandate that begins on Wednesday, December 15th and is planned to last four weeks. This will be implemented in all cities except San Francisco, where the high vaccination rate of 86% allows people to remove their masks in gym and at work. Outdoor dining is being highly suggested as well, which worries many small businesses who feel like they were finally getting their footing again. Junior Adam Arnold shares that, “[he doesn’t] think that the dining experience will change that much”. Whereas junior Makenna Stefano believes that, “A lot of people actually enjoy the outside seating but with the cold weather we have been having I think that will turn a lot of people away from eating out.”  Since people have gotten so accustomed to a new normal it will be hard to make the complete change back to masks, Stefano shares that she, “…isn’t happy with the fact that things are taking steps backwards opposed to forwards, but [she] is hopeful we can turn things back around fast and get back on a track to normal.” It is hard in these constantly changing times to find what normal means but as the country continues to heal hopefully life will return to how many Seakings remember it being nearly two years ago.