HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – A statewide mask mandate for all indoor public spaces is once again in effect, with health officials hoping to prevent a winter surge of COVID-19 cases, after a Thanksgiving spike in cases.

In shops along Huntington Beach Wednesday, it was a mixed bag of customers with masks on and others without face coverings. It was the same situation with employees at some of the stores.

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Dec. 15, 2021 (credit: CBS)

There were also residents who were unaware that a new statewide mask mandate went into effect Wednesday.

“That’s new. I didn’t know that. As you can tell, I didn’t know that,” said one resident who did not have a mask on.

Another resident, Zach Young, said he was also unaware of the mandate, but added that he doesn’t have a problem with wearing one.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it actually. So, I don’t have a mask on me, but if they want me to wear a mask, then I’ll wear a mask,” he said.

On Main Street, the doors at stores and restaurants were open, but there was no new signage notifying people that California reinstated the mask mandate indoors, starting Wednesday.

Epidemiologist Erica Pan, with the California Department of Public Health explained why the mandate was put back into place.

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“Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate actually increased by almost half and, more importantly, our hospitalizations have increased by about 15%,” Pan said. “Universal masking, especially in high-risk settings, like indoors, can really slow transmission, can impact case rates and hospitalizations and other things.”

Some residents and visitors walking near the Huntington Beach Pier were willing to stop and talk about whether they agree with the new indoor mask rule, which lasts until January 15.

“Going into places, you’ve got to think about it not being selfish. It’s not about you,” said resident John Winkler. “It’s about the people, the community coming in there.”

RJ Villarreal, from Palm Springs, said he’s not a big fan of wearing face coverings.

“I’m not really too comfortable in wearing masks because I go to the gym a lot. I hate wearing masks. It’s awful, you know. It’s like hard to breathe, but at the same time, I do respect others if they want to wear masks they definitely can,” he said.

A local storeowner, who wears his mask, said he handles the situation as best he can.

“If somebody else walks in and there is nobody else except me in the store, as long as I am wearing one, I may not push it too far. But if the second customer comes in, then it becomes a mandate,” he said.

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California is also requiring unvaccinated people who plan to attend mega-events of over 1,000 people to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, and travelers returning to the state must be tested within a few days of their arrival.