Huntington Beach voted to ban mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates across the city on Wednesday as cases continue rising across the state.

Council members approved the ban 4-3 following an hours-long meeting that began on Tuesday night.

The motion introduced by Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark was met with both supporters and detractors during the hearing, with at least one attendee being removed after yelling at Van Der Mark.

After “declaring the city to be a no-mask, no-vaccine mandate city,” Van Der Mark mentioned an exception to the order would apply to those who have tested positive for COVID. Those individuals would still be required to wear masks in certain settings. 

  • Huntington Beach city council meeting to consider a no-mask, no-vaccine mandate on Sept. 5, 2023. (KTLA)
  • Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark during a city council hearing on a no-mask, no-vaccine mandate on Sept. 5, 2023. (KTLA)
  • People cross the street, some wearing masks, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic in Huntington Beach on April 25, 2020. (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)
  • People cross the street in Huntington Beach on July 19, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Apu Gomes / AFP / Getty Images)
  • Protesters call for opening churches and lifting remaining virus restrictions in California during a protest Saturday in Huntington Beach.(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)
  • The Grim Reaper, also known as Spencer Kelly, holds a sign at Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach on Friday. The Huntington Beach resident was part of a three-person protest organized by Indivisible OC 48.(Raul Roa / Times Community News)
  • Protestors gather in Huntington Beach on May 1, 2020, after state's order to close Orange County beaches. (KTLA)
  • Police face protestors on May 1, 2020 in Huntington Beach. (Apu Gomes/Getty Images)
  • Beachgoers wear protective masks on March 18, 2020, as they return from a walk on the Huntington Beach pier.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
  • Law enforcement officials in Huntington Beach could be seen herding protestors out of the street during a protest against stay-at-home orders on May 1, 2020.
  • Protestors begin to gather in Huntington Beach in defiance of state's order to close Orange County beaches. (KTLA)
  • People walk along the Huntington Beach Pier on May 26, 2020, after it opened for the first time since March. (Scott Smeltzer / Times Community News)
  • SoCal heat wave

Citizens who supported the ban said wearing masks and receiving a vaccine should be a personal choice, while critics argued against the lack of protection for the general public and the immunocompromised.

City officials will return to the council and present a resolution to vote on at the next scheduled hearing.

The L.A. Department of Public Health reported a steady rise in COVID transmission throughout the state beginning in late June, with recent data also showing hospitalizations are continuing to soar.

With flu season fast approaching along with rising COVID and RSV cases, health officials are urging the public to prepare for a possible “tripledemic” this fall.