Kaiser Permanente and Lionsgate Studios in California reversed mask mandate policies last week, just a few days after imposing them.
Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare provider in California, on Aug. 22 announced it had “reintroduced a mask mandate for physicians, staff, patients, members, and visitors in the hospital and medical offices in the Santa Rosa Service Area,” in a statement obtained by The Press Democrat.
Kaiser said the mandate was in response to an increase in the number of patients testing positive for COVID-19.
But just two days later, on Aug. 24, Kaiser officials told The Press Democrat the mask reinstatement applied only to physicians and staff, not to patients and visitors.
“Our intent was to communicate that as of Tuesday, we have expanded the masking requirement for our employees and physicians to medical offices and clinic settings; we apologize for any confusion among Press Democrat readers,” Kaiser said in its latest statement.
It also said, “We have not changed our masking requirements in the hospital, which have been in effect since April: employees and physicians are required to wear masks and we ask visitors to wear masks when in the hospital.”
But Kaiser also confirmed to Becker’s Hospital Review on Aug. 23 that it had reintroduced the mask mandate.
The Press Democrat reported the reversal happened after people noticed many visitors to the hospital were not masking.
Local media reported that some Northern California residents supported the mask mandate policy when it was first announced, but others were skeptical and frustrated in response to the mandate announcement.
“I think it’s more political than anything, just think they’re trying to do what they did in 2020,” said Carmichael resident Craig Roberts.
Lionsgate also reverses mandate
Lionsgate on Friday also notified employees that the mask mandate it had imposed about a week prior for employees on the third and fifth floors of the studio’s five-story office building in Santa Monica was over, Deadline reported.
Lionsgate imposed the mandate after multiple people in its Santa Monica headquarters came down with COVID-19. The company told Deadline it imposed the mandate in compliance with rules set by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Lionsgate told The Wrap the health department informed the company it could lift the mask requirement after several days of no new infections.
The company also distanced itself from responsibility for the mandate, stating that:
“Lionsgate never changed its own mask policy. The LA County Department of Health ordered us to institute the temporary masking requirement after we reported a cluster of COVID cases to them and we have an obligation to comply with their orders.”
In addition to mandating “a medical grade face covering (surgical mask, KN95 or N95),” every Lionsgate employee was required to perform a daily self-screening before coming to the office and was told to stay home if they exhibited any symptoms or had traveled internationally in the last 10 days.
Lionsgate was conducting contact tracing and providing at home COVID-19 test kits. It is unclear if those practices are still required.